September 28, 2010

Mother Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Starving Baby To Death, Free After Serving Just Seven Months

Houston, Texas (The Weekly Vice) - Jolene Valencia, a Texas woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for starving her 8-week-old infant to death, was released from prison after serving just seven months of her sentence.

According to prosecutors, Valencia was jailed in October of 2004, after she and the child's father arrived at a Houston hospital with the couple's emaciated, 8-week-old son.

Investigators say Valencia claimed that the child was having trouble eating, however medical records showed the child weighing almost a pound less than his birth weight of 5 pound 15 ounces.

When a nurse saw that the baby appeared to be deceased, hospital staff rushed to revive the child..... and in the midst of their efforts, the parents asked staff workers if they could leave while emergency workers attempted to restart the child's failing heart.

Baby Saul Castillo lost that battle, and was pronounced dead an hour later.

Valencia and her partner Adrien Castillo Sr. were arrested and booked into the Harris County Jail, however the couple posted bond after serving 30 months in jail and fled to Mexico with their two sons.

Valencia, who was convicted of bodily injury to a child by failing to obtain adequate medical care, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but did not serve a day of that sentence until she decided to re-enter the United States.

She was re-arrested in 2009 following a traffic stop in Houston and returned to prison where she served just 7 months before the state parole board announced that she would be paroled in February.

"She had a limited criminal history and a satisfactory institutional adjustment," said Troy Fox of the Texas board of Pardons and Paroles.

Texas officials reportedly use a parole formula that adds any time served together with good behavior credits that are treated as real time. Valencia's previous 30 months were added together with 2 1/2 years of "good time" credits to boost her to the five year minimum to qualify for parole.

37 total months in jail magically becomes 5 years - and the remaining 15 years will be spent on parole.

The judge in the case, who terminated Valencia's parental rights, would not comment on the early release, stating that the decree he signed terminating her parental rights should speak for itself.

Valencia's two boys and a third child she conceived while in Mexico all remain in protective custody.

The child's father, who faces charges of neglect, remains at large.

Danny Vice
The Weekly Vice

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