Shantaniqua Nykole Scott, 18, of Waco, Texas, was sentenced to 25 years in prison today for trying to smother her baby -- a crime shown in a graphic video played in court.
Scott held a blanket over the face of her son, Rhaidyn, last July 16 for 21 seconds and later put her hand over his nose and mouth for 1 minute and 14 seconds, according to evidence presented in the trial at Tarrant County court.
The baby survived and is now 14 months old and in foster care.
The jurors took 28 minutes Thursday to find Scott guilty of injury to a child, then deliberated for three hours and 15 minutes today before deciding on a sentence of 25 years, according to Eric Nickols, assistant district attorney with the Tarrant County District Attorney's office. Scott faced a maximum of life in prison but could have been given only five years' probation. She will be required to serve at least half of her 25-year sentence.
In her taped confession, played in court, Scott told police: "If I could get him to die, I could get him out of my life." She said she tried three times to smother the baby at home when he was 4 months old.
"The jury wanted to send a message with her sentence," said Nickols. He said the video and testimony by Dr. Sami Hadeed of Cook Children's Medical Center, who became suspicious and installed a video camera in the hospital, were "horrific."
In closing arguments, her lawyer, David Jones, said Scott did not damage the child. "She had no business having a baby at her age. But what were the injuries?" he asked.
Prosecutors argued that hospital staff saved Rhaidyn's life. "I think she deserved every second of the time she got," said Nickols.