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Long Island Mom Pleads Guilty In Death Of Disabled Daughter

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A Long Island woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her 8-year-old disabled daughter.

Veronica Cirella, 34, of Plainview, was promised a 12-year prison sentence during a court hearing Thursday in Nassau County Court in Mineola.

She admitted she took her daughter Julie's life in July 2011.

Long Island Mom Pleads Guilty In Death Of Disabled Daughter

The judge asked Cirella if she wanted to cause her daughter's death and she answered, "Yes," WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported.

Julie was found dead just hours before she was set to appear as the flower girl at a cousin's wedding. Authorities said Cirella was found with a cord wrapped around her neck, next to a four-page suicide note.

In the note, found in court documents, Cirella wrote, "I had to give her a better life, which was to give her back to heaven. She does not deserve to be in pain whatsoever. I don't mind going to hell because I took my life to give her a better life which is in heaven where she can be free."

Prosecutors initially said Julie was fed peanut M&Ms and had a peanut allergy. However, Newsday reported that an autopsy found no peanut residue in Julie's body.

The district attorney's office said last month they believed the mother killed Julie by asphyxiating her.

Relatives said Thursday that Cirella never complained about caring for Julie, who had cerebral palsy and was in a wheelchair.

"She never complained. She never said, 'It's too much for me, Mom.' Never ever," Cirella's mother-in-law said. "She never, ever hurt her. What happened? We don't know. Nobody knows. She would never hurt her. She loved her."

Delores Cirella described her daughter-in-law as the "best mother."

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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