Mother gets life for strangling newborn

HOUSTON, May 15 (UPI) -- A Houston woman was sentenced to life in prison for strangling her daughter immediately after giving birth to her at home.

Claudia Cortes, 27, pleaded for forgiveness, but Judge Michael McSpadden said he saw no mitigating circumstances and imposed the sentence Friday, the Houston Chronicle reported.


Cortes was charged with capital murder after an autopsy established that the infant was born alive and then strangled June 10, 2007. She pleaded guilty to murder, avoiding the death penalty, and admitted strangling the baby with her panties.

Prosecutor Wes Rucker called for a life term, saying Cortes did not call 911 or seek help because she intended to kill the child.

But defense attorney Ken Goode contended Cortes was confused. "Something snapped and something horrible happened in that bathroom," he said.

McSpadden said he had seen thousands of crime scene photos in 30 years of service, but viewing at the picture of "that sweet innocent child" was too much.

Cortes will be eligible for parole in 30 years.

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