A pregnant woman in Ohio delayed the birth of her child in order to testify in the sentencing of the man convicted of raping her 6-year-old daughter.
The woman was scheduled to give birth Thursday morning, but when Judge Nancy Margaret Russo refused to reschedule the sentencing, the mother (who has not been named) opted to postpone her delivery, Cleveland.com reports.
Earlier this month, Justin Christian, 30, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape charges in the case. He managed to escape trial by agreeing to a plea deal with the state. The mother told Christian that she agreed to the deal “not to help you out, but so all three of my daughters don’t have to come look into the devil’s eyes when they came to testify.”
The attack occurred in May, and Christian, who is a native of Elyria, Ohio, also tried to kidnap another young girl. Judge Russo drew criticism for her refusal to reschedule the case; a spokesperson for the county prosecutor’s office declared, “This decision demonstrated a complete lack of compassion and human decency.”
Russo defended her decision not to reschedule and called the attacks against her unfair. She also claimed that there were clerical errors in the process to move the sentencing, leaving her somewhat unaware of the mother’s request.
On Thursday, the mother appeared in court during the sentencing and detailed the day that Christian broke into her house and stole her daughter. After 17 hours of sexual abuse, he dropped her off in the neighborhood, stuffed in a duffel bag.
Under the plea deal, Christian will spend the next 35 years in prison without the possibility of parole.