Medical examiners ruled that the child’s death was the result of blunt force trauma and therefore a homicide. Patel’s attorney Kevin Smith said the child’s death was an accident and there was no intent on Patel’s part to harm him, it was just a tragic accident resulting from her lack of experience with small children.
The police warrant showed that the toddler fussed about eating rice and spat water on Patel’s face, after which she picked up the boy and slammed his feet onto the kitchen floor 3 times, shook his head, pushed him in the face and he fell backward and hit his head.
The Judge will impose a 20-year sentence, to be suspended after 14 years are served and Patel will also serve 5 years probation. Smith however argued that since Patel is not a US citizen she must be deported to India after serving her sentence.
The boy’s parents also face charges for lying to detectives about the incident. His mother Thenmozhi Rajendran, 26, initially said she was taking care of her son when she noticed his breathing was abnormal and the boy fell while reaching for a doorknob. The father Sivakumar Mani, 35, backed up his wife’s lies, but it was clear the boy was with Patel when the incident occurred in December.
It is reported that Patel pleaded under the Alford doctrine, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that there is enough evidence for conviction at trial.