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Local News

Mother Sentenced to Life in Prison for Torturing Toddler

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.

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