WOMAN GETS 4 YEARS FOR GIRL'S DEATH

Relates to:
Date: 1998-05-22

* MONTCO RESIDENT CLAIMED ADOPTED DAUGHTER FELL. SHE LATER ADMITTED HITTING 3-YEAR-OLD.
Author: FRANK DEVLIN, The Morning Call

A New Hanover Township woman has been sentenced to a 4- to 14-year prison term for the October death of the 3-year-old daughter she adopted from Honduras, the case's prosecutor said Thursday.

Nancy Montalbano, 46, had pleaded guilty but mentally ill last month to voluntary manslaughter, said Christopher Maloney, a Montgomery County assistant district attorney. She was sentenced last week by Judge S. Gerald Corso.

Montalbano initially told authorities the 3-year-old girl fell down the stairs. Then she said the girl fell after Montalbano inadvertently tripped her as they were both making their way down the stairs.

She eventually admitted hitting her daughter. She told authorities she was upset with the girl because she tipped over her potty and got herself wet just before they were to have pictures taken.

Maloney said the girl was hit several times. "Her liver was ruptured by one of the impacts," he said.

"The idea is to get these kids out of deprived conditions," he said. "Isn't it ironic that the girl meets her death at the hands of her deliverer?"

"She would have lived longer had she remained in Honduras," Maloney said.

Even though the acceptance of the guilty but mentally ill plea last month made it possible for Montalbano to be sent to a secured mental facility instead of a prison, Maloney said, she told the judge she preferred to go to prison.

"It was kind of an unusual circumstance," he said. "Apparently there had been a chance of medication."

"I can't help but hope that maybe she was mentally ill" when the crime occurred, Maloney said. "Otherwise, this beating was inexplicable."

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