Sonia Hermosillo, 42, a La Habra woman who was prosecuted for fatally dropping her infant son, 7-month-old Noe Medina Jr., from a Children’s Hospital of Orange County parking structure on August 22, 2011, was sentenced on Wednesday to 25-years-to-life in prison.
Hermosillo told Judge Kimberly Menninger that she regretted what she did. She begged for an opportunity to stay with her two daughters. She admitted that what she did was wrong but ultimately her pleas were rebuffed although the judge acknowledged that she was “was not an evil person,” but that after the baby boy was born her “world turned upside down for her and she needed help.”
Hermosillo’s husband and two daughters supported her throughout the long criminal proceedings.
A jury in Santa Ana found that Hermosillo was legally sane when she killed her son and convicted her of murder.
Although Judge Menninger could have given Hermosillo probation she instead sentenced her to 25-years-to-life behind bars noting that a sentence of probation for killing a baby was not a good option although she admitted that “There is no winner here. This just became a tragedy and I’m so sorry for what you went through.”
Hermosillo was once considered a devoted, outgoing mother but after the birth of Noe Jr. she became nearly catatonic and eventually believed herself to be a danger to her children. Her family tried to aid her but did not have the financial resources to help her to get better.
Noe Jr. was getting physical therapy at the Children’s Hospital three times a week to fix a neck that had been twisted to one side and flat-head syndrome, and he was showing improvement. However Hermosillo somehow came to believe that her son was just going to be a “big baby in diapers his whole life,” although her son had not been diagnosed with anything but the physical-development issues.
On that fateful day in August of 2011, Hermosillo headed to to the hospital parking structure in Orange, with her son, after waiting for her husband to get in the shower. Once she arrived at the parking structure she removed the protective helmet that Noe Jr. wore to treat his flat-head syndrome and then dropped the boy from the building.
Hermosillo later admitted to the police that she had “hate, resentment and anger” towards her infant son “because he’s sick.”
The reason the jury trial was delayed so many times over a decade was that Hermosillo finally received the mental-health treatment she needed and doctors finally were able to determine that she was mentally fit to stand trial.
Jacqueline Goodman, Hermosillo’s defense attorney, argued that Hermosillo was not guilty by reason of insanity, which would have required jurors to determine Hermosillo didn’t understand the nature of her actions at the time of the infant’s death.
Goodman’s defense experts argued that Hermosillo had suffered from postpartum psychosis, including delusions and hallucinations that amounted to a complete break from reality. However the OCDA’s experts and Deputy O.C. District Attorney Mena Guirguis claimed that although Hermosillo was severely depressed she was not to be considered legally insane.
Hermosillo finally got the help she needed but her infant son is dead and her two daughters will now have to finish growing up without her.