(AP, WJLA) - The grandmother on trial for killing her 2-year-old granddaughter has been found guilty of first-degree murder, according to the jury. The jury recommended she be sentenced to 35 years in prison on Thursday.
Prosecutor Ray Morrogh said he finds no joy is the legal victory. The girl, 2-year-old Angelyn, is dead at the hand of her grandmother, who admittedly suffers from a mental illness. The girl's parents are coping as best as they can.
"I just left James and Cat and they're devastated," he said. "This is not a scar that's going to go away. It's deep and it's forever."
Carmela dela Rosa, 50, was on trial for allegedly tossing her 2-year-old granddaughter to her death from a sixth-level pedestrian bridge at Tysons Corner shopping mall. Dela Rosa of Fairfax pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. She faced life behind bars.
Defense witnesses testified that dela Rosa was diagnosed with severe depression and tried to kill herself on several occasions in the months before she tossed 2-year-old Angelyn Ogdoc off the 45-foot walkway at Tysons Corner Center last November.
Prosecutors say dela Rosa clearly understood right from wrong and was motivated by anger at her son-in-law for getting her daughter pregnant out of wedlock.
The jury of eight men and four women rejected the insanity defense, finding the woman guilty. Dela Rosa remained stoic when the verdict was read while the parents of the killed girl, James and Cat Ogdoc, wept.
"I'm a criminal defense lawyer. I respect the jury process although I disagree with their verdict. I think they just got it wrong," said defense attorney Dawn Butorac.
Leandro dela Rosa, the woman's husband, he said when he left court that the day was "devastating to everyone."
The judge will hold a sentencing hearing on Jan. 6 where he can lower or agree with the sentence the jury recommended. He cannot increase the sentence.
The lead defense attorney said an appeal is likely.