El Paso, TX (KDBC) — On Monday afternoon, a jury sentenced twenty-three year old Lorraine Merjil to 15 years in prison for injuring her young daughter back in 2011.
"We don't think that this is a fair verdict, but we do respect verdicts and the jury said what they had to say," said Omar Carmona, Merjil's defense attorney.
Merjil was accused of beating her 20-month daughter Desiree to death, and then lying several times about how her daughter was injured.
A close friend of Merjil's, who was in court for the sentencing, painted a different picture of her.
"She loved her daughter, her daughter was everything to her. Everywhere she went, she used to spoil her so much, she was her world," said Alysacia Blair, "She's the most giving, nice, kind, sweet, innocent - like, she wouldn't, she wouldn't even touch a fly."
Merjil originally faced capital murder charges but was ultimately convicted of a lesser charge, 'injury to a child,' last week.
Her attorneys argued it wasn't her who beat young Desiree, but rather, Merjil's now ex-boyfriend, Jorge Sanchez - both were in the home at the time.
In January, Sanchez was sentenced to 10 years of probation for knowing about Merjil abusing her daughter.
"The jury did vindicated our client when they rendered their verdict that she was not responsible, I mean, that she did not commit the murder. And we still believe that," said Carmona.
Merjil's loved ones cried silently in the audience as the jury read her punishment.
Once out of the courtroom, Merjil's mother sobbed uncontrollably.
The twenty-three year old was taken into custody immediately after her sentencing, and will be eligible for parole.