May 05, 2011 : Tomoya Shimura
VICTORVILLE • A Victorville mother convicted of starving her disabled son to death got off with the 359 days she served while awaiting trial because evidence showed Child Protective Services repeatedly told her the victim was doing fine.
JAMES QUIGG, DAILY PRESS
Rosondra Clay walks into the courtroom for her sentencing hearing Thursday morning. Clay was given a suspended 4 year sentence, and five years of supervised probation for involuntary manslaughter of her disabled son.
Victorville Superior Court Judge Jules Fleuret put Rosondra Marie Clay, 30, on five-year supervised probation for involuntary manslaughter, following the plea agreement and a probation officer’s recommendation.
Clay, who was originally charged with the murder of 5-year-old Kevin Baldwin, accepted the prosecution’s offer and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge on April 2.
After postponing the sentencing for a week to review facts of the case, Fleuret said Thursday the plea agreement was appropriate.
Fleuret said Clay didn’t intend to kill Baldwin, who weighed just 15 pounds when he died from severe malnutrition in July 2008.
Baldwin had severe spastic cerebral palsy and no muscular control. It was difficult to feed the child because he had no control over his tongue, said David Sanders, Clay’s attorney. Because of Baldwin’s medical condition, the family was receiving assistance from various county agencies.
Every time San Bernardino County CPS agents met with Clay, they concluded that Baldwin and Clay’s other children were doing fine, Fleuret said. When Clay pointed out Baldwin was not gaining weight, CPS didn’t take any action, Fleuret said.
The judge said CPS reported Clay had taken good care of Baldwin. Just 14 days before the victim died, CPS conducted an office visit and determined the child looked fine. And three days before the death, CPS agents visited Clay’s house and allowed the child to stay with the mother.
“My client might have made some mistakes, but CPS did not provide her the support she should have been able to rely on,” Sanders said.
Spokespersons for the CPS and county could not immediately be reached for comment.
Sanders said Clay will be able to reunite with her three children, including a baby she had had right before her arrest.
Clay was scheduled to be released Thursday evening after serving 359 days in jail since her arrest. If she violates her probation terms, she could be sentenced to an aggravated term of four years in prison.