Mother who left kids with drugs gets probation
Nov. 29, 2017 at 10:21 p.m.
Updated Nov. 30, 2017 at 11:39 a.m.
Jurors on Wednesday gave another chance to a Victoria mom accused of leaving her kids in a car with crack.
After returning a guilty verdict for Eva Tina Delgado, 29, jurors decided on probation rather than send her to state jail.
"It's a perfect compromise," said defense attorney Jordan Fries during his closing arguments.
Delgado was charged in 2015 with three counts - one for each child left in the car - of abandoning or endangering a child in imminent danger or bodily injury. If Delgado breaks the terms of her five-year probation, she could face up to two years in state jail.
But assistant district attorney Barbara Agbu wanted a more severe sentence, stressing the potentially deadly nature of Delgado's crimes to the jury repeatedly during her closing argument.
"We could have had a dead kid," she said.
During a court recess, Agbu said deputies found Delgado's children sleeping in an idling car outside a mobile home in Bloomington. They also found crack inside of a shot glass on the car's center console.
"Ingesting crack cocaine is obviously dangerous, and also the onset of the symptoms takes about five minutes," Agbu said.
According to the Department of Justice, crack is a highly-addictive and powerful stimulant derived from powdered cocaine.
While Agbu was not sure exactly how long Delgado left her children unattended before deputies arrived, at least five minutes had passed before she returned to the car, the prosecutor said.
Tuesday, a Citizens Medical Center registered nurse testified that eating crack can result in increased blood pressure, seizures and brain hemorrhages, Agbu said. That nurse, she said, also testified to an instance during his employment in which a 5-year-old patient died at the hospital after ingesting crack.
"I think that's important because ... five minutes is enough time for a kid to reach over and put that in their mouth," Agbu said.
But Fries argued the relevance of other evidence and testimony in determining guilt or innocence. In his eyes, prosecutors failed to demonstrate Delgado knew the drugs were in the car.
"There's gaps in the evidence," he said.
Fries said the drugs belonged to Victoria mother Kimberley Villarreal, 33.
Although Fries did not dispute a sheriff's office official's testimony that the women occupied the same mobile home on the night of their arrests, he said that fact did not demonstrate Delgado knew the drugs were present.
"The state did not sufficiently show that she was ever in that vehicle or what her connection was to Ms. Villarreal," Fries said. "Whether she was using her for a ride real quick or just dropping those kids off, we just don't know."
Villarreal, whose child was found inside the idling car with Delgado's kids, pleaded guilty to abandoning or endangering a child in imminent danger or bodily injury in March 2016.
Unlike Delgado, Villarreal was charged with possession of a controlled substance, although that charge was eventually dropped by prosecutors.
Additionally, Delgado's criminal history in Victoria County contains no felonies.
But during the trial's sentencing phase, Agbu called law enforcement officials to the stand to testify about two drug raids at homes where Delgado and her children were living.
During those raids, authorities found crack, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs inside the homes. They also found marijuana in Delgado's possession.
"This is a pattern," Agbu said during her closing argument.
But Fries asked jurors first to think about Delgado's children, whom incarceration would leave parentless, he said.
"Probation is made for people like Ms. Delgado," he said.
And despite Agbu's pleas for jail time, the court allowed the mother to walk out with her family and return home to her children.
"That's going to hold her accountable," Fries said.