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Ex-day care owner gets probation for trying to hang toddler

Day care owner sentenced

MINNEAPOLIS — A former Minneapolis day care owner was sentenced Monday to 10 years of probation for trying to kill a toddler in her home by hanging him. Nataliia Karia, 43, received her punishment in Hennepin County court after pleading guilty to attempted murder and third-degree assault earlier. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan in November 2016.

Karia abandoned a possible insanity defense before entering the guilty plea, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Karia also must follow court-ordered mental health treatment and will be on electronic home monitoring for at least two months, the Star Tribune reported. She will live with her adult son but cannot have unsupervised contact with her daughters or other minors.

According to the criminal complaint, a father was dropping off his son at Karia's home when Karia led him toward the basement, where he saw the toddler hanging from a noose. He released the child and fled with him. The 16-month-old boy survived. Police reportedly said a week after the incident the child was doing fine physically after a hospitalization. 

Judge Jay Quam agreed with the assessment by doctors that Karia was "a low risk" to reoffend. He called her actions "the perfect storm of factors unlikely to ever be repeated."

Defense attorney Brockton Hunter expressed relief on behalf of Karia.

"We came in here with our hearts in our throats," Hunter said.

He said Karia, who has spent 20 months in jail since the incident and will get credit for her time already served, will leave jail no later than Tuesday.

Karia, who arrived in the United States from Ukraine in 2006, promised to follow probation and said in court she was glad no one died. She said in a statement her husband abused her, forced her to work despite her psychological struggles and prevented her from getting medical attention, reports the Star-Tribune.

"I don't want to push this terrible crime onto my husband. I just want to explain what happened," she said through an interpreter, reports the paper. "Your Honor, my children need me … Give me a chance to resume a normal life."  

Prosecutor Christina Warren reportedly pushed for nearly 13 years of prison time. Warren raised doubts that Karia could be properly supervised outside of prison and receive the care she needs to restore her mental health.

In a court filing, Warren wrote that instead of being the person most able and willing to protect the boy from harm, Karia "left him hanging by a noose around his neck in her basement."

The defense argued for probation, pointing out that Karia already has served time in jail and lost her child care career.

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