The Journal Gazette
Saturday, May 19, 2018 1:00 am

19-year-old sentenced to 25 years

Added Excedrin to baby bottle in trying to kill niece, 11 weeks

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A 19-year-old woman who admitted she tried to kill her 11-week-old niece by adding headache medication to the baby's bottle was ordered Friday to spend 25 years in prison.

Sarai Rodriguez-Miranda was angry her mother allowed her brother, his fiancée and the baby to live with them and stay longer than expected, court documents said. She took a bottle of breast milk and added the equivalent of nine tablets or capsules of Excedrin – enough to kill an adult, a forensic toxicologist told investigators.

In March, Rodriguez-Miranda pleaded guilty to attempted murder, and Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull sentenced her Friday to 35 years in prison, with 10 years suspended, for a total of 25 years behind bars. She will also spend five years on probation, under a plea agreement.

“I would like to see her serve the maximum,” the baby's mother, Faythe Grosjean, told Gull through a statement read by a victim advocate in Allen County Superior Court.

“She is everything to me. I don't know what I would do without her,” the statement said, referring to the baby.

Rodriguez-Miranda's mother found messages on a cellphone Jan. 12, 2017, between her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend discussing how much of the medication it would take to kill the child.

After the messages were discovered, Grosjean took bottles of breast milk and put them into a plastic bag, court documents say. The bottle that contained the crushed pills was a different color and had a greenish circle at the bottom, a probable cause affidavit said.

The baby was not harmed.

Detective Kenneth Johnson of the Fort Wayne Police Department testified Friday that online messages from Rodriguez-Miranda show no remorse for her actions.

“To be honest, I hope she dies,” one message read by Johnson said.

“I'm honestly not worried about being caught,” read another.

Rodriguez-Miranda read a statement that said her mother “failed us repeatedly.” She said she has struggled with her mental health.

“I know the reasons for the actions are far less important than the actions themselves,” she said. “It is my hope that, in time, I can show my family that I am more than that act.”

Defense attorney Robert Gevers said Rodriguez-Miranda has accepted responsibility for her actions and needs help for “mental health disorders.”

The comments did not sway the judge, who ordered psychiatric and substance abuse evaluations as part of the sentence.

“The fact that you characterize this in your comments to me, ma'am, that 'this doesn't define me' – That just goes beyond the pale,” Gull said. “This wasn't a mistake.”

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