DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The woman who admits to beating and super gluing her daughter's hands to a wall said that she is "not a monster." Elizabeth Escalona testified in her own defense Wednesday during her sentencing trial. She has already pleaded guilty to first-degree injury of a child. She, along with her family, are now asking the sentencing judge for probation.
Crying through much of her testimony, Escalona talked about how she was verbally and physically abused by men all her life. Under direct examination by her attorney, Escalona answered questions about her first boyfriend, who is the father of two of her five children. She claimed that he was always drunk, always jealous, and thought that the baby she was expecting was not his.
Escalona's lawyer asked, "Did you get used to being punched by this guy?"
She answered, "I believe so…to me that was normal."
When asked about her second boyfriend, the father of her three other children, this was her response: "He would pull my hair, choke me, punch me and kick me." Escalona said that she called police several times, and they asked her to leave.
Escalona also said that, on September 7, 2011, a day after a major fight with her latest boyfriend, she broke down and attacked her child, 2-year-old Jocelynn Cedillo. "I hit her, I kicked her constantly," Escalona said through tears. Escalona offered no explanation for why she glued the girl's hands to the wall. "I don't really recall what happened afterwards. Everything happened so fast."
Emergency room photos taken at Children's Medical Center show Cedillo with bruises and scrapes from head to toe. There was glue on the child's hands and eyes, and bite marks on her body. Though the toddler was in a coma for a while, she has fully recovered and is now living with her maternal grandmother and siblings.
Earlier in the day, two of Escalona's sisters testified that their father molested all of his daughters before finally being sent to prison for molesting the child of a family friend.
One sister said that she and other family members took Jocelynn to the hospital after the gluing incident, when they could not find Escalona. She said, at the emergency room, she told the doctor, "'She's dying in my arms!' The doctor looked at her and rushed her into another room. And when I laid her down, that's when she went into a seizure... her eyes started moving to the left and her little body started shaking."
Still, both sisters and the aunt argued for probation instead of a prison sentence, saying that Escalona needs counseling, not jail. "Her being taken away won't help her any. She needs a lot of help."
Testimony continues on Thursday, when Escalona will likely face a withering cross-examination from prosecutors. The stakes for her are high, with punishment ranging from probation all the way to life in prison.
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