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A Penngrove woman will undergo a psychological evaluation in state prison over the next 90 days before she is sentenced for the child endangerment of her then-2-month-old daughter earlier this year. Lyndsay Colula, 21, faced up to 12 years in state prison at her sentencing today in Sonoma County Superior Court. But, because of inconsistent explanations for the child’s injuries, Judge Gary Medvigy ordered Colula to undergo the diagnostic evaluation. “Perhaps we’ll learn the truth of what happened in this case,” Medvigy said. Colula and her husband, Jesus Colula, 26, pleaded no contest to willful child endangerment likely to cause great bodily harm. Their daughter suffered seven broken ribs and a broken leg between the knee and the ankle.
The baby’s injuries were discovered in May after the couple took her for a check-up at a Sonoma County clinic. Doctors at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland also examined the baby and notified Child Protective Services. The baby was taken from the Colulas and is now with Lyndsay Colula’s parents. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and arrested the couple in June. The Colulas gave a variety reasons for the child’s injuries. The explanations included that Lyndsay rolled onto the child while she was sleeping, the baby fell out of bed, the baby fell out of a bassinet onto the floor, the family dog pounced on their daughter, Lyndsay accidentally sat on the girl, and that the child fell while one of them was walking down stairs, according to court documents filed by the prosecution. “I don’t know what the truth is,” Medvigy said.
Before Colula was taken into custody, her attorney, Joe Rogoway, argued for her to be sentenced to probation. He said the Colulas had panicked and given inconsistent accounts about the injuries because Lyndsay was a heavy pot smoker, was on Medicare, and was afraid of losing the child. “She doesn’t know what happened,” Rogoway said. Medvigy was skeptical of Lyndsay Colula’s claim that her marijuana use affected her memory of what happened. “It’s hard to image the depth of the marijuana stupor that would prevent you from seeing (the injuries),” Medvigy said. “There are no further details other than the marijuana stupor and your fear of losing the baby,” Medvigy said before remanding Colula and ordering the psychological exam.
Before Colula was taken into custody, Deputy District Attorney Rosanne Darling asked Medvigy to sentence her to 12 years in prison. “These would be horrific injuries even if this was an adult,” Darling said. “At a time when she should have been cuddled and loved, she was brutally beaten,” Darling said. She said Lyndsay Colula is “clinging to the ridiculous story the injuries came from a fall despite evidence to the contrary.” “We still don’t have a clear story that is consistent with the facts,” Darling said. Jesus Colula’s sentencing was postponed until his attorney prepares a statement of mitigating factors for the judge to consider. He is being held in Sonoma County Jail and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 25.
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