A tearful West Valley woman told a judge she didn't call police when her 14-month-old son had a seizure because she didn't want to go to jail.
On the day she was expected to stand trial for first-degree felony murder, Mesepa Heimuli, 29, struggled through strong emotions in telling the 3rd District Court judge what she did.
"He was shaking in his crib and his eyes rolled back and I didn't call 911," Heimuli said. "Because I had bruises on him and I was afraid of going to jail."
Heimuli said she tried to perform CPR on her son and that her son had no prior history of seizures.
Prosecutors say the child died from a closed head injury and that there were bruises and scratches on the boy's body. Both Heimuli and her husband did not call police for several hours after finding the boy dead in his crib.
In a last-minute plea deal, Heimuli pleaded guilty Monday to one count of child abuse homicide, a third-degree felony.
Heimuli's attorney, Ralph Dellapiana, said his client took the plea deal because there was a substantial risk that a jury would have found her guilty of murder, a first-degree felony, had the case gone to trial.
After her plea, jurors who were waiting in another room were dismissed.
Heimuli is scheduled to be sentenced March 14.