A mother from St. Paul was sentenced to 18 years in jail on Thursday for fatally beating her 2-year-old daughter last year.
Ciashia Lee, 30, previously pled guilty to second-degree unintentional homicide while committing a felony in the killing of Melody Vang in Ramsey County District Court.
At sentencing, a charge of first-degree murder with a pattern of child abuse was dropped in return for the plea.
Lee will be compensated for the 516 days she has already spent in prison.
According to court documents, the presumptive punishment range was 128 to 180 months in jail, but prosecutors requested an additional three months for Lee because of the girl’s age and susceptibility.
According to the allegations, Lee became enraged when Melody Vang “continued wailing” and woke up her child, so she “started striking” her daughter.
After pleading guilty to felony child endangerment in connection with Melody’s murder, Lee’s husband, 43-year-old John Vang, was sentenced on March 21 to 240 days in the Ramsey County workhouse and three years of supervised probation.
Until 2020, the girl and her siblings were in foster care together. According to court papers, the children were restored to Lee and Vang after both parents underwent chemical dependence therapy and mental health exams.
On Jan. 10, 2021, policemen discovered Melody dead on the back porch of her family’s Dayton’s Bluff house after Vang reported “an incident.” According to the criminal complaint, the girl was only wearing a diaper and her body was wrapped in blankets and a rug. Rigor mortis had set in, and she was frigid to the touch.
Melody’s face and torso were covered in huge bruises, as well as “cuts and scrapes across a major area of her body,” according to the criminal complaint. She died of head injuries as a result of the attack, according to an autopsy.
According to the complaint, when officers questioned Lee what she did to Melody, she told them she struck her “too many times because the girl wouldn’t stop sobbing.” “Lee also claimed that she put her hand over the girl’s mouth to stop her from sobbing, but that it didn’t work, so she proceeded to slap her out of frustration.” Lee ultimately grabbed the kid, continued to abuse her, and brought her to a ‘time out’ closet.”
Vang had not observed what she did that evening, but had seen her strike the girl previously, according to Lee.