Over the objections of prosecutors, a mother who went on a drinking binge that ended with the suffocation death of her unattended 2-month-old baby was sentenced today at Westminster Justice Center to a year in jail. Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price argued that the seriousness 27-year-old Corrina Atuatasi's crimes and the fact that she endangered her children's lives before warranted a state prison stretch. The maximum penalty she faced was 12 years in the joint.
Atuatasi accepted a court offer to cop to felony involuntary manslaughter, felony child abuse and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury to a child under 5. After her year in jail, she is to be formally sentenced on Nov. 27 to an additional six months in a live-in alcohol treatment program and one year of a self-help program.
The night of Oct. 30, 2011, Atuatasi watched her baby boy, Aiden Galeai, while her husband and 2-year-old daughter were away visiting family. At one point, the mother left the infant alone in her apartment while she went outside to take a smoke break. A male neighbor then invited her to join his two buddies in his apartment.
Atuatasi started drinking with the trio before returning to her apartment to put Aiden in his car seat and carry him back to the neighbor's unit. The baby was left alone in a bedroom for the next several hours while Atuatasi pounded drinks.
She returned to her apartment with her child around 4 a.m. on Halloween. The baby wound up face down in a pile of clothing, although it is unclear if Atuatasi dropped him there and passed out or if he was purposely placed there. In any event, Aiden suffocated to death.
Atuatasi awoke around 6 a.m. and called 9-1-1 to report she could not find Aiden. Before police arrived, the mother moved her dead baby to the bed. At 9 a.m., she had a blood alcohol level on .23 percent and, after a Garden Grove Police investigation, was arrested.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The Orange County Probation Department had also recommended a prison sentence, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.