Crime

Babysitter sentenced for Lakewood toddler's death after pleading guilty to manslaughter

Nothing is more precious or more fragile than a young child.

That's what Superior Court Judge Kitty-Ann van Doorninck said Tuesday before she sentenced a Pierce County babysitter for the death of a Lakewood toddler.

"There's nothing you can do or say to make this up to the family," the judge told 31-year-old Atalani Tili.

Tili pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for the death of Keanu Perpetua-Prescott as part of negotiations with prosecutors, and van Doorninck gave her a high-end sentence of 8 years, 6 months in prison.

That's what both the defense and prosecution recommended.

Tili wrote in her guilty plea that the 2-year-old, who was the child of a family friend, bit her hand while she was caring for him.

Her reaction caused the boy to hit his head on a dresser. Instead of taking him to the hospital, Tili assumed the toddler would get better with sleep.

He did not, and she called 911 the next day, Feb. 14, 2017, according to charging papers.

The boy died from his injuries 10 days later.

His mother, Liza Perpetua-Prescott, told the judge Tuesday, "Our son Keanu's death took everything from us."

She described the toddler as "a loving and sweet boy with a heart as big as the world and a smile that could light up the room." His family misses him constantly, she added.

To Tili, Perpetua-Prescott said, "We loved you as a sister, and we trusted you wholeheartedly to care for our son."

When it was Tili's turn to address the court, she told the judge: "I am truly sorry. It was an accident, your honor."

Keanu is survived by his parents and seven siblings.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell
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