Carlotta Brett-Pierce, mother of starved girl, gets 32 years to life in prison for murder

Carlotta Brett-Pierce (center-left) and her mother Loretta Brett (center-right) at their sentencing June 6
Mona Rivera/1010 WINS

(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Carlotta Brett-Pierce, the mother of a little girl who was beaten, starved and drugged has been sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. She was convicted of murder last month in the death of 4-year-old Marchella Pierce.

Brett-Pierce told the court Wednesday that she was not responsible for her daughter's death. She claimed she lacked the education, skill and money to care for an ailing child.

When police found Marchella on Sept. 2, 2010, she had 60 adult doses of Claritin and 30 doses of Benadryl in her system. Her stomach contained one kernel of corn. She weighed 18.8 pounds which is half the weight of an average child her age.

According to CBS New York, at the sentencing Wednesday, Judge Patricia DiMango said Brett-Pierce showed a calloused lack of care for her daughter and other children who were witness to the abuse. Brett-Pierce's 7-year-old son, Tymel, testified in court that his sister wasn't often fed.

"Food, water and basic human parenting could have kept her alive," DiMango said.

The child's grandmother, Loretta Brett, was also sentenced to the maximum five to 15 years after she was convicted of manslaughter in the girl's death for witnessing the abuse and not preventing it.

"This is a great loss and I am deeply saddened by her passing," said Brett.

Two child welfare caseworkers have also been charged in the girl's death, among the first social workers in the country to be held criminally responsible for the death of a child on their watch.

They have plead not guilty.

Complete coverage of Marchella Pierce on Crimesider


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