Toddler Starvation Death Case
A local judge has rejected a plea agreement proposed for a Lake Havasu City woman charged in the starvation and blunt force trauma death of her toddler daughter. Judge Billy Sipe on Friday said he could not sign off on a deal reducing the case against Brittany Rodriquez, 27, to an attempted child abuse conviction.
``I simply cannot accept a plea agreement that dismissed the homicide charges,” Judge Sipe said. ``I take it very seriously whenever I’m dealing with a death of a child.”
Punishment in the rejected plea deal involved a 5-10-year prison sentence, but Rodriquez once again faces the possibility of life behind bars as Judge Sipe has reinstated a first degree murder charge in the January, 2018 death of Gabriella Lamorie. The 27-month-old child weighed just 17 pounds at the time of her death.
The victim’s father, Andrew Lamorie, 24, is serving a 16-year prison term after pleading guilty to second degree murder. Judge Sipe decided to recuse himself from further involvement in the Rodriquez matter because he said the same judge should not preside over cases where conflicting theories are provided in the factual basis for rival plea agreements.
``I would have to make inconsistent determinations if I did accept the plea agreement in this case," Sipe said. ``I probably can no longer remain objective as to Miss Rodriquez’s case because of the determinations I already made in the co-defendant’s case which conflict with what she has presented to the Court.”
Judge Sipe said Presiding Criminal Judge Derek Carlisle will assign the Rodriquez case to another judge.