All-day hearing on sentencing for Jacksonville mother whose 12-year-old son killed toddler, decision next month

The Jacksonville mother of the youngest person in Jacksonville to ever be charged with first-degree murder will learn next month if she’ll go to prison for her role in the death of her youngest son. Biannela Susana, who pleaded guilty to Jacksonville aggravated manslaughter in the death of her 2-year-old son David, will learn her fate next month, according to a report in the Florida times-Union. Attorneys for Susana and prosecutors made their cases in a sentencing hearing last week, the newspaper reported. Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys for Susana argued for her to be put on probation and that the two years and three months she’s spent in jail since her arrest is sufficient time in this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case. The defense has already made arrangements for Susana to receive parenting and life skills counseling, along with a job at a nonprofit if she completes the terms of her release, the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors, however, are asking for 15 years in prison in this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, the newspaper reported. Susana pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The neglect stems from Susana waiting to take her youngest son to the hospital and covering up for past violence. Her oldest son Cristian Fernandez has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated battery for slamming David into a bookshelf after Susana left them alone in their apartment in 2011. Susana waited eight hours to take him to the hospital after finding him unconscious and a doctor told police David may have survived if he was medically treated sooner.

Police said Susana also lied about an incident when Cristian broke David’s leg, saying it was a playground accident to protect Cristian – and to likely protect herself from having her children taken from her by the state. Rarely in a Jacksonville Manslaughter Case like this would a defendant receive a sentence that does not include some time in prison. But this case has been anything but routine since the outset. Cristian was initially charged with first-degree murder, but later agreed to a deal that also him to be in juvenile jail until he turns 19, and then be released to serve eight years of probation. Jacksonville defense attorneys heavily discussed Susana’s troubled life, including having Cristian at age 12, watching him be molested in foster care and seeing her husband kill himself in front of two children after being accused of abusing Cristian. The point of a sentencing hearing is to provide information to the judge that he or she can consider in issuing a sentence the defense is seeking. And the prosecutor does the same in terms trying to secure a longer sentence. This sentence is this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case is one that will be highly anticipated and receive plenty of attention – and likely criticism – however it comes out.

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