The mom had been warned repeatedly that she was endangering her daughter
A 29-year-old mother who murdered her toddler daughter in the summer of 2017 by intentionally leaving her in a hot SUV for more than nine hours was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, PEOPLE confirms.
Last month, jurors found Angela Phakhin guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Maiya.
“After Maiya’s death, Phakhin told law enforcement that she and Smith were trying to remove the lustful demons from Maiya,” a statement from the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office alleges.
Phakhin was sentenced on Monday, according to the statement.
The statement says Phakhin and her fiancé, 48-year-old Untwan Smith, moved with Maiya to the Sacramento area from Arkansas in 2016.
All three lived in an SUV, according to investigators.
“Over a two-week period, Phakhin and Smith exposed Maiya to extreme summer temperatures,” the statement alleges. “One day, they left Maiya in a car for 4 ½ hours. On the second day, they left her in a car for 9 ½ hours, which led to her death.”
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The statement adds that, prior to her daughter’s horrific end, “Phakhin had been warned repeatedly to protect Maiya and was advised to take her to a cooling shelter, but she did not accept the offers.”
Phakhin and Smith were detained on June 28, 2017, and both were charged with premeditated and deliberate murder and felony murder torture stemming from Maiya’s death.
Before arresting them, police searched the vehicle Phakhin and Smith were traveling in, finding Maiya unresponsive in the back seat, covered with blankets.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Smith, who has not entered pleas to the charges against him, is awaiting trial, the statement adds. His lawyer could not be reached Wednesday.