A former day care provider who hanged a toddler in her Minneapolis home was let off the hook by a judge who cited a "perfect storm" of events in sentencing her to probation.
Nataliia Karia avoided prison time despite pleading guilty to attempted murder, third-degree assault and criminal vehicular operation for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in November of 2016.
A father was dropping off his son at Karia's home when he found a toddler hanging from a noose in the basement. He released the child, and the 16-month-old boy survived.
Karia fled in her vehicle, striking a bicyclist and dragging another motorist 10 blocks after striking his car, according to the Star Tribune. The bicyclist needed a rod inserted in his leg to avoid amputation, according to the newspaper.
She would also hit a vehicle driven by a pregnant woman. Karia threatened to jump off an overpass before she was taken into custody.
Hennepin County District Judge Jay Quam sentenced her to 10-years probation on Monday after agreeing with doctors that she was a "low risk" to commit more crimes. Judge Quam said her actions were “the perfect storm of factors unlikely to ever be repeated," according to the Star Tribune.
Karia spent 20 months in jail and will get credit for her time already served. She was expected to leave jail no later than Tuesday.
“We came in here with our hearts in our throats," defense lawyer Brockton Hunter told the Star Tribune.
Karia recounted during the two-hour hearing how her husband repeatedly abused, assaulted and threatened to kill her after they came from Ukraine in 2006, according to the newspaper.
“I don’t want to push this terrible crime onto my husband," she said in Russian, according to the paper. "I just want to explain what happened. Your Honor, my children need me … Give me a chance to resume a normal life.”
Karia will be on electronic home monitoring for at least two months, according to the Star Tribune, and was ordered to undergo court-ordered mental health treatment. She is not allowed have unsupervised contact with her daughters or other minors.
Prosecutor Christina Warren asked for a 13-year prison sentence, expressing doubts that Karia can receive the supervision she needs.
"Instead of being the person most able and willing to protect [the boy] from harm, she ... left him hanging by a noose around his neck in her basement," Warren wrote in a court filing obtained by the Star Tribune.