Saturday, February 13 , 2016, 7:24 am | Fog 49º

Mother Sentenced to Life in Prison for Torturing Toddler

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

A Santa Maria woman was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after being convicted of torturing her 2-year-old daughter in 2010 by inflicting second- and third-degree burns as a punishment.

Lorena Arenas
Lorena Arenas

Superior Court Judge Edward Bullard imposed the sentenced in a Santa Maria courtroom after denying a defense attorney’s request for a continuance and a new trial.

Last December, a jury convicted Lorena Arenas, 26, of three felonies: torture; corporal injury to a child with the special allegation that she personally inflicted great bodily injury; and child abuse, according to Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jebens.

Arenas was accused of holding the toddler’s hands under scalding water from a bathroom faucet as punishment after the child got into her makeup, Jebens said.

Despite the severity of the child’s injuries, Arenas waited hours before taking her daughter to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment, Jebens said.

Doctors there notified police, who arrested Arenas and Jose Gonzalez, the child’s father, on a variety of charges.

Arenas and Gonzalez are not married.

On Tuesday, Arenas was given the minimum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole on the torture charge, Jebens told Noozhawk

Arenas will be eligible for parole after serving seven years, he said. With credit for years already served, Arenas could be eligible for parole in four years.

The judge also sentenced Arenas to six years in jail on the other charges, to be served concurrently with the life sentence.

The child, who did not attend Tuesday’s sentencing, received treatment at the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks, and was in the process of being adopted at the time of her mother’s conviction, Jebens said.

Gonzalez, 42, who testified against Arenas at her trial, was accused of failing to seek treatment for the injuries to his daughter, Jebens said.

He pleaded no contest in May 2011 to one felony count of child abuse under a plea bargain with prosecutors, was sentenced to prison, and has since been released.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 02.26.13 @ 11:28 PM

This monster was given the minimum sentence for this horrific crime?  Outrageous!  Time to remove Judge Bullard from the bench!

» on 02.27.13 @ 12:15 AM

More Mexicans….what’s up with their mentality?
Low IQs?

» on 02.27.13 @ 09:50 AM

Zuma7, you had time to research her ancestry?

» on 02.27.13 @ 10:06 AM

Someone should torture her

» on 02.27.13 @ 11:35 AM

A Life Sentence seems high when you consider that people convicted of murder often get much lesser sentences.

And then there is the woman that hit and killed a pedestrian driving up Middle Road after a wine tasting then left didn’t stop who got a year and was let out early so she could go to her daughter’s graduation.

The sentencing rules seem to be out of whack.

» on 02.27.13 @ 02:10 PM

Zuma7: More Bigots….what’s up with their mentality? Low IQs? Basic Evilness? Low self-esteem? Fear of anything/anyone different from themselves? Lack of human decency?

It’s so easy for people like Zuma to air their racism in this kind of forum when they can hide behind a screen name and just issue some knee-jerk criticism.

Stupidity and immorality come in all shapes, sizes, colors, races.

Intelligence and goodness do as well.

The choice is ours. Those like Zuma who choose to hate and judge particular groups of people should be ashamed of themselves.

» on 02.27.13 @ 02:46 PM

Good grief. You see far more Mexican immigrants in the crime blotter because there are more of them committing crime. You can say that because it’s true, that is not being racist. As to why, the very same people who brought you tolerance forgot that not all tolerance is good and tolerating bad behavior so you don’t look like the racist you are can lead to less sophisticated cultures interpreting that as defacto approval of bad behavior. Oh the unintended consequences of promoting a permissive society where anything goes.
It does not help that the majority of Hispanic immigrants are here illegally. Think about that very carefully before you send your knee jerking through your forehead. Illegal immigration requires you to break federal laws, commit fraud and live under the radar. These are not behaviors that breed good citizenship but rather contempt. Now add poverty induced by lack of citizenship, lack of education, permissive cultural values and what do you expect? Americans born here as legal citizens are already pumped from birth through high school with contempt for values, law and selfless behavior by our liberal permissive society. Drug addiction, criminal behavior and a get mine at your expense attitude are now not only pervasive but accepted and even glorified by Hollywood, not to mentions used as a vote getter by our government. Imagine how these fence jumpers must feel when they get here and are encouraged by half the population to become criminals right off the bat and then they meet up with our own pervasive cultural rot and stench?

Most Mexicans I know are the last bastion of real old fashioned American values of hard work, earn what you spend, discipline your children and pray to your God. What you see here is a new breed, corrupted at the fence and heavily influenced by our own decaying social fabric.

You wanted a permissive utopia where you were free from being judged for your stupid dopy self absorbed over indulgent behavior, you know, if it feels good do it. Well how does it feel now?

» on 02.27.13 @ 03:11 PM

Of course the more informed, better educated people would know that hispanic does not equate to Mexican. But then, they’re all the same, right?

» on 02.27.13 @ 06:38 PM

Arenas and Gonzales….yup, they are probably Irish.

» on 03.01.13 @ 01:28 AM

Zuma—Aztec (Nahuatl) word, short form of Moctezuma. So how does someone who hates Mexicans (probably hates all brown people) justify using an Aztec word as a screen name? I know, a lack of intelligence—you probably thought it was just the name of a beach.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.