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October 15, 2012

Plea deal reached in Modesto teen's baby-poisoning case

A teenage Modesto mother accused of trying to place rat poison in her month-old baby's formula bottle accepted a plea deal that will result in a six-year prison sentence.

A teenage Modesto mother accused of trying to place rat poison in her month-old baby's formula bottle accepted a plea deal that will result in a six-year prison sentence.

Cashel Sophia Phin, 18, had been charged with attempted murder, two counts of soliciting to commit murder and one count of willful poisoning. She pleaded guilty Monday morning to a single count of soliciting to commit murder; Deputy District Attorney Beth O'Hara Owen dismissed the remainder of the charges in return.

The infant, Anna, was healthy and safe after her mother was arrested.

Phin appeared in a red jail inmate jump suit, with shackles on her wrists and ankles and with a short haircut.

A court-appointed interpreter assisted Phin and translated what was said. She spoke only two words, answering "no contest" when Superior Court Judge Linda McFadden asked for her plea.

McFadden scheduled sentencing Nov. 15, pending the completion of a probation report. Donnell Snipes, Phin's defense attorney, expressed concern to the judge that the sentence would end up longer than six years after the probation recommendation is complete. McFadden assured him that the deal Phin accepted included the six-year offer.

Phin was arrested May 9 after she told a fellow Modesto High School student that she wanted to kill her baby by throwing it into a trash can, according to Modesto police.

Investigators went to Phin's house, where they were told that Phin had swung her purse at the infant and tried to persuade her sister to kill the child by feeding her rat poison, police said.


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