A counselor testified Wednesday that she believes a Dallas mother loves all her children even though she beat her 2-year-old daughter and glued the toddler's hands to a wall.
Prosecutors are seeking a 45-year prison sentence for Elizabeth Escalona, who pleaded guilty in July to felony injury to a child. Police say Escalona lost her temper and attacked Jocelyn Cedillo in September 2011, frustrated over potty training.
Counselor Melanie Davis testified Wednesday that she believes from the conversations she has had with Escalona that the 23-year-old mother loves her five children. Davis said she has been counseling Escalona since June, nine months after her arrest.
Escalona has set herself the short-term goal of finding a job and the long-term aim of getting her kids back, Davis testified, adding that the young woman "is need of further counseling services."
Escalona is expected to testify in her own defense. Escalona's mother, Ofelia Escalona, testified Monday that her daughter is "not a monster" and that she deserves probation. She insisted her daughter could be "fixed."
Prosecutors have played recordings in which a teenage Elizabeth Escalona threatened to kill her mother. They said she was a former gang member who started smoking marijuana at age 11.
The grandmother now takes care of Elizabeth Escalona's five children, including a baby born this year and Jocelyn, who has recovered.
Police records show that Escalona's other children told authorities she kicked Jocelyn in the stomach and hit her with a jug of milk. They said Escalona then glued Jocelyn's hands to the wall with a type of strong adhesive commonly known as Super Glue.
Jocelyn suffered bleeding in her brain, a fractured rib, multiple bruises and bite marks, and was in a coma for a couple of days. Some skin had been torn off her hands, where doctors also found glue residue and white paint chips from the apartment wall.