By Calvin Palmer
A Houston mother was today sentenced to 99 years in prison for cutting off her five-week-old son’s genitals.
Katherine Nadal, 28, was found guilty of serious bodily injury to a child on Friday.
Jurors in Harris County gave her the maximum prison term allowed plus a $10,000 fine.
As the boy’s legal guardian, his aunt Patches DeShazo, read out victim impact statements from five family members, Nadal shouted out: “No I didn’t. I didn’t hurt him, I failed him.”
Camden Gothia, the boy’s father, stood up and shouted, “You abused him while he was still in the womb!”
Nadal shouted back, “You didn’t help with that?”
As deputies seated Nadal, Gothia stormed out of the courtroom and could be heard shouting in the hallway.
Earlier jurors in state District Judge Denise Collins’ court listened to details ranging from the Nadal’s suburban childhood playing sports through her adult descent into drug addiction before March 13, 2007, when she mutilated her five-week-old son, Holden Gothia.
She had said the family dachshund, Shorty, chewed the baby’s penis and testicles off while she slept in the family’s Clear Lake apartment. The baby’s wound had straight edges and an even base, leading investigators to rule out a dog bite, prosecutors said.
They also heard about her son’s life since that day.
Prosecutors had asked jurors to sentence Nadal to life in prison and a $10,000 fine, noting the child’s severe injuries that would require many more surgeries and hormone treatment for the rest of his life.
“That can’t be fixed,” Assistant Harris County District Attorney Denise Oncken said. “She has given him a horrible life to deal with.”
Nadal’s lawyers asked for probation.
Defense attorney Allen Isbell asked for mercy for a “promising young lady” who wasn’t strong enough to deal with the death of a close friend in high school.
“Mitigation does not excuse what someone has done, but it brings compassion for the person,” Isbell said.
Skip Cornelius, another of Nadal’s lawyers, said the mother maintained her story about seeing the mini-dachshund licking the bloody baby after waking up.
He also floated an argument that someone else may have cut off the baby’s genitals — a theory without any evidence at trial.
He went on to say Nadal had a “drug-diseased mind,” but no motive for mutilating the boy.
Assistant District Attorney Tammy Thomas said a pill was not going to fix Holden Gothia’s problems.
“She took his identity, folks. And she either flushed it or threw it in the trash can somewhere,” Thomas said.
None of the baby’s severed body parts were found.
Testimony showed Nadal went to buy cocaine, then injected it while watching her son the day before the assault. She also argued over whether the baby needed to be circumcised.
Gothia, his father, opposed it. Gothia was at work when the boy was injured and immediately ended his relationship with Nadal.
“This is one holy nightmare,” Thomas said. “This is a case that life sentences are made for.”
[Based on a report by the Houston Chronicle.]