Mother says punishment for death of infant son 'not enough time'
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Monique Rodriguez collapsed into uncontrolled sobs as justice was served in the name of Braiydon White, her 4-month-old son who was killed in May 2010.
Braiydon's father, Terrence Derreal White Jr., who was 20 at the time, pleaded guilty to Braiydon's death and took a plea bargain of 20 years in prison - a sentence Rodriguez felt was not harsh enough.
White was sentenced in the 24th Judicial District Court on Feb. 6, and now a month later, Rodriguez is beginning to feel some closure.
"At least now I know the truth," said Rodriguez, 23. "When they first told me 20 years, I started crying. A lot of emotion just came over me. In my head I thought, 'that's not enough time for actually doing that to your own child, or any child.'"
Back in May 2010, White repeatedly struck Braiydon with enough blunt force that the 4-month-old suffered several head fractures, according to a 2010 news release from the Victoria Police Department.
Braiydon died of his injuries at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi.
The original offense was for capital murder of a person under 6 years old, a crime punishable by life in prison or death. However, the offense was lessened to injury to a child, according to court documents.
District Attorney Steve Tyler explained the circumstances surrounding the case made it difficult to give White life in prison.
At first the Braiydon's family was on White's side and then they switched.
The final decision was to drop the capital murder charge and go with the injury to a child charge, Tyler said.
Rodriguez admits that at first she didn't want to believe White had killed the child, but after she had some time to think about it, she came to her senses, she said.
"I didn't know what to believe in," she said. "I was kind of in disbelief."
Now that he has been sentenced, all Rodriguez can do is look forward.
Rodriguez has a 6-year-old son from another father who she has to be strong for and watch over, she said.
"I was scared I was never going to find out the truth," Rodriguez repeated. Rodriguez deals daily with the loss of her son.
It took her almost six months to clean out the trunk of her car, which had diapers and other baby supplies.
Even worse, it took her almost three months to finally sleep in her own bed. Even today, whenever she sees an infant who bears resemblance to her baby, she cries.
"In a way it's kind of a little bit of closure," she said. "At the same time, it's not enough."