FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Keisha Jackson said she used her hand and a belt to hit her 2-year-old daughter Jayla.
Jackson's older daughter told authorities that her mom was potty training the toddler when she lost her temper. Neighbor Mike Russ told police he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"I heard some kids crying, screaming, howling from next door," Russ said. "I thought I heard some pretty continuous smacking."
The enraged 20-year-old mother's last move to slam Jayla against the wall was deadly. On Wednesday, Jackson, now 25, was in a Broward County courtroom in Fort Lauderdale. She was charged with murder and pleaded no contest.
The beating happened nearly five years ago. After the girl fell limp to the floor, the mom didn't call 911. She took her to Broward Health North Feb. 26, 2010.
Here is what doctor's learned: The girl suffered head and neck trauma. There was severe brain swelling and bleeding in both eyes. Jayla was brain dead.
To add to the horror, nurses found signs of previous beatings. The girl had bite marks on her left arm, right thigh and chest. She had burn marks. There were bruises on her forehead. And there were ligature marks on her back.
A doctor reported "blatant child abuse" to police. Jayla was on life support at Broward Health Medical Center's pediatric intensive care unit.
After an investigation on Jayla's short and tortured life, police arrested Jackson March 15, 2012. Jonathan Lawrence, a Broward Sheriff's Office detective, said he had never worked on a case as "heinous."
Judge Andrew Siegel sentenced Jackson to 25 years in prison for aggravated child abuse and one count of child neglect in 2012. He also added 10 years of probation and parenting classes.
The little girl was six when doctors removed her from life support Sept. 26, 2014. But since the criminal case had ended, prosecutors knew it would be challenging for another charge on the same case to stand.
Prosecutor Shari Tate did not push for additional prison time Wednesday. Siegel decided to increase her probation to 20 years and added anger management classes as a condition.
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