Palmdale boys see abuser sentenced

first_imgSALT LAKE CITY – A woman who beat her two young grandsons to the point that one fell into a coma was sentenced Thursday to nearly 20 years in federal prison. Charlissa Sireech, 46, who lives on the Uintah-Ouray Reservation, pleaded guilty in March to seven counts of assault against brothers Emilio Rodriguez, then age 3, and Jose Rodriguez, then 4. The boys, now 4 and 5 years old and living in California with their paternal grandmother, attended Thursday’s hearing with her, Leoncis Rodriguez of Palmdale. Sireech’s lawyer, Vanessa Ramos-Smith, mentioned her client’s mental and physical health problems as well as her “extremely low functioning IQ of 65” in asking that the woman be placed in Carswell Federal Medical Center prison in Texas. On Aug. 30, Deherrera took Jose unconscious to Uintah Basin Medical Center in Roosevelt. Emilio was brought in separately. Both boys had skull fractures from being beaten and thrown to the floor, according to court documents. Investigators think Sireech was angry because the boys spoke Spanish and wouldn’t do as they were told in English. Jose, in a coma, was later transferred to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, where doctors said they weren’t sure if he would survive. If he did, they said, he would not likely walk, talk or feed himself again. Jose’s recovery has been somewhat better than doctors expected. At the hearing, he had a hard time sitting still. He limps and can’t move his right arm, and he must wear a helmet because he frequently falls down, family members said. His speech is slurred, and he sometimes communicates only in sounds, not words. Jose doesn’t sleep much, making him a 24 hour-a-day job for Rodriguez; her husband, Samuel; and their three children still at home. Emilio is in better shape, but still lifts his shirt to show scars from being burned and has many emotional problems, family members said. Sireech also was ordered to pay $267,982 in restitution to Medicaid. Because Deherrera is not a member of the Ute tribe, he was charged in state court where he was sentenced in January to serve one to 15 years in state prison for failing to protect the boys. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I just want to tell my grandkids I’m sorry,” Sireech said in U.S. District Court. “If I wasn’t so sick and everything wrong with me and being on all these medications, maybe things would have been different.” Judge David K. Windner agreed, sentencing Sireech to 19 years and eight months. He said he would recommend the time be served at the Texas prison, which is known for its mental health facilities. The other grandmother was not happy with the sentence. With FBI investigator John Wright serving as an interpreter, Rodriguez said in Spanish that she would have liked a longer sentence and “may God forgive her because he will judge her.” The boys’ parents had left the brothers and their younger sister, Mona, with Rodriguez in Palmdale. Thinking the Ute tribe had some say in where the children belonged, California child welfare officials sent the children to live on the Ute reservation with Sireech, who lived with her boyfriend, Michael Deherrera. Whether the Ute tribe had jurisdiction in the case is in dispute. Prosecutors alleged that the abuse began shortly after the children arrived at Sireech’s home. FBI investigators contend she beat Jose and Emilio with her fists and a cane, which she later buried far from the home to hide the evidence. Investigators also said she burned Emilio with a hot curling iron. It didn’t appear the little girl was abused. last_img read more