WOBURN (CBS) — The woman convicted in the death of a six-month-old baby she who was babysitting in 2014 was sentenced Friday. Pallavi Macharla will spend three and a half to four years in state prison.
A jury found Macharla guilty of second-degree murder back in May. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
But in August, a judge reduced the conviction to an involuntary manslaughter conviction, provoking another sentencing. In court on Friday, the judge referenced her lack of criminal history and reputation.
Macharla also spoke. “Your honor, I loved Ridhima so much, dearly as I loved my daughter and did not cause any harm to her,” she said.
The court was filled with members of Marcharla’s family and the family of the six-month-old victim, Ridhima Dhekane.
Ridhima had been under Macharla’s care back in March of 2014 when she died. Prosecutors said an autopsy revealed the baby died from blunt force trauma and shaking injuries to the head. Marcharla did not call 911.
Macharla said she was babysitting Ridhima in her Burlington home when the infant choked on chunky homemade applesauce, vomited and stopped breathing.
“She is good and innocent she does not deserve to be in the jail,” one of Marcharla’s supporters said outside court.
Macharla’s defense attorney J.W. Carney said because she was convicted of more than a year behind bars, it is likely Marcharla could be deported to India.
“The sentence was not a harsh one. It was in the eyes of many people, lenient. We thought the judge should go down even further for a lower sentence that would not have impacted Pavalli’s deportation,” Carney said.
He is planning to appeal.