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Foster mom sentenced to 12 years in Ore. girl's death


Associated Press

A woman who pleaded no contest to manslaughter and criminal mistreatment in the death of a 2-year-old foster child was sentenced to a dozen years in prison.

Dunia Soledad Moreno, 31, of Gresham had originally been charged with murder along with the charges in which she pleaded no contest. Prosecutor Jeff Howes said it might never be known if Soledad delivered the fatal blows to Keyana Bravo-Hamilton, but she and her husband, Armando Moreno-Garcia, were both responsible for the girl's death in September 2006.

Moreno-Garcia, 39, faces trial next month on a manslaughter charge.

Keyana had been living with the couple for less than three months when her lifeless body was brought to a Gresham hospital. The girl was pronounced dead at the hospital and police were alerted after staff noticed she had bruises, abrasions and cigarette burns. The couple's oldest biological daughter, then 6, told authorities that on the day before Keyana died she saw the foster mom stick the toddler's head into a toilet containing feces and urine.

Defense attorneys asked to withdraw Soledad's plea agreement Monday, saying Howes failed to keep a promise that Soledad could have visits with her two daughters. They said Howes also falsely promised that the girls would be adopted by their grandmother.

Howes said he made no promises and Judge Julie Frantz said such conditions were not part of the written agreement.

When it was her turn to speak, Soledad said she hadn't seen her children since her arrest, which made her feel compassion for Keyana's mother, Crystal Hamilton, who was sitting in the courtroom.

"I understand Crystal's pain because I also am feeling it at this point," Soledad said before apologizing to the woman.

Hamilton told The Oregonian after the hearing that she has many questions about what roles Soledad and her husband played in Keyana's death, but Soledad's apology reaffirmed that she was partly responsible.

Hamilton also said she was insulted by Soledad's statement that she understood her pain.

"She does not know how I feel," Hamilton said. "I think she should have kept her mouth shut."

2008 Feb 5