May 23, 2018 07:11 PM
Lawyers representing Nataliia Karia have asked a Hennepin County judge to consider probation instead of prison time for their client, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder, assault and criminal vehicular operation charges in connection with an incident where a 16-month old child was found hanging from the basement ceiling of her home.
The incident occurred in November of 2016. Karia pleaded guilty to the charges in May. Sentencing was scheduled for Wednesday, but the majority of the hearing was spent listening to testimony from witnesses the defense presented.
Karia ran an in-home day care in south Minneapolis. Her son, Denys Karia, now 20, lived with her at the time of the incident.
Defensive attorneys spent most of the morning questioning Denys Karia, asking about his mother’s state of mind and actions leading up to November 18.
He told the court his mother hadn’t been sleeping more than two hours a night in the weeks before. He said she expressed to him that she’d had suicidal thoughts, but that going to the hospital could jeopardize her day care license.
Denys Karia recounted an incident the week before the hanging, where he said he chose to close the day care because of Karia’s state of mind. A close family friend then took Karia to a nearby clinic. Doctors there reportedly told her to go to the emergency room, but Denys Karia said Nataliia’s husband refused to take her.
“I remembered thinking things were going to get worse,” Denys Karia said on the stand.
During the testimony, parents who took their children to Karia’s day care also took the stand. Many talked about how kind and good with children Karia was. They told the judge they trusted her with their children and believe she should not go to prison for this incident.
But several victims of Karia’s crime spree also spoke out in court. They talked about how their lives have changed since that day.
Jacob Carrigan, who was riding his bike when Karia hit him with her van, said in his recovery he’s focused on restorative justice and would like to see that for Karia.
“I've gained an understanding that we've intersected for a reason, that we're all connected,” Carrigan said. “My question is, how are you being heard Nataliia? How is eight to 15 years in prison going to heal anyone?”
The parents of the 16-month-old also addressed the court. Asking not to be identified, they said their little boy is healthy, but that the family is still working through the trauma that’s happened.
They said they’ll “never understand why she did that,” and told the judge that probation is not enough of a punishment.
Judge Jay Quam will make his sentencing decision at a later date.
Updated: May 23, 2018 07:11 PM
Created: May 23, 2018 05:19 PM
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