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Burlington Woman Found Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Shaken Baby Trial

BURLINGTON (CBS) -- A Burlington woman accused of killing a six-month-old infant girl was found guilty of second-degree murder Monday. Pallavi Macharla, 45, was caring for Ridhima Dhekane before her death on death on March 27, 2014.

According to prosecutors, Ridhima was a healthy baby and Macharla caused her fatal injuries.

Macharla was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

"She is in total shock that she will be separated from her children for 15 years because of something that was alleged that she never, ever did," her defense attorney J.W. Carney said.

The judge gave the jury four possible outcomes in the case, not guilty, guilty of first- or second-degree murder, or involuntary manslaughter.

Pallavi Macharla
Pallavi Macharla reacts to being found guilty of second-degree murder (WBZ-TV)

Macharla was babysitting the infant in her Burlington home when Ridhima choked on chunky homemade applesauce, vomited and stopped breathing. Prosecutors claim Macharla was increasingly frustrated with a fussy baby and took violent action in a case of shaken baby syndrome.

Ridhima Dhekane
Ridhima Dhekane (WBZ-TV)

Carney had told the court the baby had no injuries on her body consistent with being violently shaken, with medical experts testifying to that. "There was no external trauma, no injury was seen to the child after this violent shaking," said Carney.

But prosecutors say Macharla never called 911 and lied to police about leaving Ridhima in the care of a friend for a half hour.

On Monday, the victim's father Umesh Dhekane gave a victim impact statement. "No one should go through that, not even your enemies," he said. "No one should lose their child before their eyes.

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