Mother sentenced to 18 years in prison for drowning daughter, 2, as punishment for wetting herself

A Brooklyn mother-of-two was sentenced on Wednesday to 18 years in prison for drowning her two-year-old daughter by holding her head under water in a torage bin nearly four years ago.

Lin Li, 28, was convicted in June 2019 of manslaughter and two counts of acting in a manner injurious to a child in the death of her daughter, Melody Zheng, but was acquitted of second-degree murder.

A jury also found Li guilty of first-degree attempted assault for holding her four-year-old son’s head under water a day before Melody’s killing.

Lin Li, 28, arrives in Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn for her sentencing on Wednesday, nearly four years after the drowning death of her daughter 

Li broke down in tears as she spoke through an interpreter (right) about her child's death in 2016, saying she regrets her 'mistake'

Li broke down in tears as she spoke through an interpreter (right) about her child’s death in 2016, saying she regrets her ‘mistake’ 

Li was convicted in June 2019 of manslaughter in the death of her daughter, Melody Zheng, but was acquitted of murderOn Wednesday, she was sentenced to 18 years

Li was convicted in June 2019 of manslaughter in the death of her daughter, Melody Zheng, but was acquitted of murder. On Wednesday, she was sentenced to 18 years 

During Li’s sentencing, her defense lawyer spoke of his client’s ‘tough upbringing’ in her native China, and her deplorable living conditions in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, where he said the mother, her husband and their two young children lived in an apartment where they had to share a bathroom with a dozen other people. 

Attorney Mario Romano described Li as a ‘loving, caring’ mother and said she ‘blames herself every day’ for what happened.’

He added, ‘I did not see the actions of a monster in what I read.’

When given a chance to address the court before learning her fate, Li, dressed in light-brown jail garb, broke down in tears as she spoke through a translator. 

‘I would like to say being a mom, it is my duty to take care of my children, and I really regret my daughter’s death,’ she said through tears. ‘It was my mistake….losing my daughter is very, very painful to me.’ 

Li then directly addressed Kings County Supreme Court Judge Deborah Dowling, telling her: ‘no matter how much time your’re going to send me to jail [for].. I will accept it.’ 

Dowling handed down separate sentences for each of the counts totaling 18 years, to run concurrently. 

‘This defendant had a duty to care for her children and to keep them safe, but instead she used inexplicable and dangerous methods to discipline them – and caused the violent death her daughter,’ Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in  a statement. ‘Nothing can bring back little Melody, who had an entire life ahead of her. But, with today’s sentence, we have obtained a measure of justice in this terribly tragic case.’

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