Sick daycare worker who tried hanging a crying toddler is spared prison time
Nataliia Karia has been instructed to follow mental health treatment and electronic home monitoring for at least two months after the sentencing
A judge on July 16 cited a "perfect storm" of circumstances to spare a home day-care operator from Minneapolis jail time after it was revealed that she had tried to hang a toddler in her care in the basement of her home before fleeing in her minivan, in the process hitting and seriously injuring two people.
Nataliia Karia,43, let go of a possible insanity plea and pleaded guilty instead in the attempted murder charge in February for trying to hang a little boy from a noose in November 2016. The home where the incident took place is located in 2700 block of Humboldt Avenue S. The 16-month-old boy survived the attack after a parent who was dropping off their child removed the noose from around the toddler's neck.
Karia also admitted to Hennepin County District Judge Jay Quam to third-degree assault charges for hitting a pedestrian, another driver, as well as a bicyclist as she was racing away in her minivan.
According to reports, after leaving behind the trail of mayhem, she was about to jump off a freeway overpass in Minneapolis before being apprehended by officers and arrested.
After a two-hour hearing, Karia was granted a 10-year probationary sentence with credit for the 20 months she has already been in jail. She has been instructed to follow the mental health treatment and electronic home monitoring for at least two months after the sentencing.
She is also to live with her son but is not allowed to have any unsupervised contact with her daughters or any other minors. Karia's three other children are 2, 7, and 10-years-old.
Child Protection Services are also continuing their proceedings to see if she is fit enough to be a parent, reported the Star Tribune.
When the judge was deciding against giving her prison time, he agreed with the doctor's assessment that the woman was a "low risk" reoffender.
Quam then said that her actions that day were "the perfect storm of factors unlikely to ever be repeated". He also said that this was "one of the hardest cases I’ve ever had. ... There are no easy answers here". Brockton Hunter, Karia's attorney, spoke about how relieved he was with the ruling. He said: "We came in here with our hearts in our throats."
Karia got very emotional throughout the hearing and fought back tears as she read a statement in Russian that spoke about the many waves of abuse that her husband allegedly inflicted upon her and the children ever since they got to the United States from Ukraine in 2006.
In her statement, she alleged that the husband hit and threatened to kill her, ruined the family financially, forced her to work even though she had psychological problems, and even stopped her from seeking medical attention for her issues.
With her words being interpreted in English, Karia said: "I don’t want to push this terrible crime onto my husband. I just want to explain what happened. Your Honor, my children need me … Give me a chance to resume a normal life." She told the court that when she found out again that she was pregnant with another daughter, her husband allegedly punched her in the stomach for not giving him a son. She ended her emotional statement with a promise that she will obey the probation rules and said: "I thank God nobody died."
The authorities said that the week of the incident, the toddler spent some time in the hospital but did not sustain any permanent physical damage; a scan indicated no brain injury. However, the toddler's mother said their boy had nightmares and underwent therapy sessions.
Christina Warren, the prosecutor, had pushed the court for a 13-year jail term for Karia and this had initially raised some doubts in the minds of the jury whether she could be supervised properly outside of jail or receive the proper care she needed to get her mental health back in order. Warren had written in a court filing that "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".
Karia's attorneys argued for no further incarceration.
They cited a few ways that she had already been punished and this included her time already spent in jail, losing out on her child-care career, time as a parent to her children, and the loss of more than $100,000.
The attorney's also cited the "scarlet letter of disgrace in the community she’s loved and served since immigrating to the United States [and] the shame she will live with for the rest of her life for doing something so out of character that harmed many people."
There were no victim impact statements presented during the sentencing on July 17.