Whitman Mother Sentenced to 3–4 Years for Daughter’s De@th

A Whitman mother has admitted that she did things that led to the death of her 2-year-old daughter.

Shaniqua Leonard, who is 29 years old, pleaded guilty in Plymouth District Court on Wednesday to one count of murder and one count of putting a child in danger by being careless.

In December 2019, she was charged with killing her daughter, Lyric Farell. On December 28, 2019, Lyric was found dead in her family’s home on Washington Street in Whitman. She was in the hospital in Brockton and Boston, but on December 31, she was taken off life support.

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The Plymouth County district attorney’s office said in a statement, “Detectives found that Farrell was in serious distress and needed immediate medical attention, but Leonard did not act quickly enough to get the child the help he needed.”

Prosecutors had said before that an autopsy showed that Lyric was bleeding behind her eyes and had a hemorrhage inside her brain. She was slowly dying because of injuries to her head that could only have been caused by a violent car crash.

At Leonard’s appearance in superior court in August 2020, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney Jessica Kenny told the judge that Leonard’s story about the death didn’t match the facts. Kenny said that Leonard showed the hospital staff videos of Lyric falling over and hitting her head on the ground after her mother tried to hold her head up.

Leonard said that Lyric killed herself by doing this. But neurologists and other medical experts said that couldn’t have been the reason, and one of Leonard’s other six children told a therapist that his mother hurt Lyric. On Wednesday, the office of the district attorney said that Leonard should spend 8 to 10 years in state jail, then go on probation for 5 years.

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Leonard was given a sentence of 3 to 4 years in jail and 5 years of probation by Judge Maynard Kirpalani.

The judge also agreed to the terms that the prosecution wanted for Leonard’s probation. One of these was that he couldn’t talk to anyone under 16 or any witnesses in the case. Leonard was told to wear a tag with a GPS tracker and take classes on parenting and dealing with anger.

“Lyric Farrell was a perfectly healthy 2-1/2-year-old who loved bubbles, her daycare, and the colors blue and purple,” said Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz in a statement. “She was loved, she was special, and she didn’t deserve what happened to her.”

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