- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (AP) - Attorneys for a Gann Valley woman convicted of beating to death a 4-year-old boy because he wet his pants have filed motions for a new trial and a reduced sentence.

Donika Gonzales, 23, was sentenced on July 1 to 130 years for first-degree manslaughter and 15 years for aggravated assault for the death of Mason Naser, her boyfriend’s son.

Gonzales’ attorneys are asking the court to reduce her sentence, arguing that the lengthy sentence is disproportionate to similar cases and that she’s a good candidate for rehabilitation, according to The Daily Republic in Mitchell (https://bit.ly/1n17WOi ).

Her attorneys say Gonzales won’t be able eligible for parole until she’s 86 years old and that she has a low risk of recidivism.

As for a new trial, the defense is arguing that statements Gonzales made to investigators and statements made by the 4-year-old boy prior to his death should have all been suppressed or kept secret from the jury.

They also say expert testimony by Dr. Gautam Ray, Dr. Nancy Free and Dr. Kenneth Snell should not have been allowed, and that the release of a juror for speaking to a witness in the hallway was improper.

One of Gonzales’ attorneys had also asked Judge Bruce Anderson before the trial to limit Snell’s testimony in order to keep the jury from hearing the phrase “due to abuse.”

Anderson denied the request from Gonzales’ attorney, arguing that the medical examiner was qualified to testify and determines causes of death on a regular basis.

Assistant Attorney General Bob Mayer says he won’t comment on the motions until the judge addresses them in court.


Information from: The Daily Republic, https://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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