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Mother pleads guilty in death of toddler

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

A College Park woman pleaded guilty Thursday to causing the 2007 beating death of her 3-year-old daughter, and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Vertie Janelle Green, 28, also known as Vertie Walker, pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter and two counts of cruelty to children, in Clayton County Superior Court.

Green initially faced 11 counts, including murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.

Green beat her daughter with her "hands and fists" on July 15, 2007, according to a Clayton County Superior Court indictment. The incident occurred at Green's home, located at 5243 Brentwood Road, in College Park.

Police responded to the scene following a report of the child "having fallen down a flight of stairs," according to a warrantless arrest affidavit filed by Clayton County Police.

The child was transported by helicopter to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, according to the document. "Doctors advised that [the child] was in critical condition with possible broken bones, old and new blood on the brain, and pupils fixed, dilated," the affidavit states.

"I, along with other detectives, observed the residence to be in [an] unlivable condition, which consisted of human feces throughout the residence's floors, no food in the cabinets and refrigerator, dirty clothes throughout residence, and feces on multiple walls," police said in the document.

The injured toddler died within 24 hours, according to Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson.

Green was later arrested and held in the Clayton County Jail. Her other two young children were placed in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services, according to court records.

Lawson said in court Thursday, during the plea hearing before Superior Court Judge Albert Collier, that if Green had gone to trial and been convicted, the prosecution would have recommended a sentence of at least life, plus 75 years.

Green's attorney, Frank Smith, said during the hearing that he had explained to Green that she may be eligible for parole after serving seven years, but that the "likelihood of her getting out at that time is slim to none, but more likely in the 15-year area," he said.