Buckley mom convicted of putting bleach in her baby's eyes

Staff writerOctober 7, 2013 

Jennifer Mothershead enters Piece County Superior Court for her arraignment in May 2012.

PETER HALEY — Staff photographer Buy Photo

A Pierce County jury has convicted a 31-year-old woman of torturing her daughter by squeezing bleach into the child's eyes during a two-month period in 2011.

Buckley resident Jennifer Mothershead faces sentencing Nov. 15 after being found guilty of first-degree child assault. She is jailed pending that hearing.

Jurors returned the verdict Friday.

They made special findings that Mothershead's actions were tantamount to torture, exhibited deliberate cruelty and were part of a pattern. The jury also found Mothershead abused a position of trust and that her daughter, 14 months old at the time, was particularly vulnerable.

Those findings will allow prosecutors to argue for a sentence above the standard range, which for Mothershead is seven years, nine months to 10 years, three months. Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said his office will recommend a sentence above the high end, but exactly what has yet to be determined.

The case began when Mothershead's daughter was taken to Children's Hospital in Seattle in spring 2011 for treatment of a head injury. Doctors suspicious of child abuse called police.

Doctors also determined the girl's eyes were badly infected. Eyedrops found in a cooler Mothershead had taken the hospital later were determined to contain bleach, court records show.

"The staff ... determined that the damage to the child's eyes was consistent with repeated exposure to bleach and ruled out any possibility that the eye dropper had been merely cleaned with bleach," prosecutors wrote in court papers.

It's unclear why Mothershead put bleach in the girl's eyes.


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