Danna Tamika Batista Milian was sentenced to 60 years in prison by the Tribunal Penal de San José for causing a fire and ignoring the call for help from her two children, aged 10 and 8, who perished in the blaze on April 26, 2018.
However, Costa Rican legislation establishes that the maximum penalty that she will serve in prison is 50 years.
The conviction was unanimously handed down this Tuesday morning by the judges of the San José Criminal Court, Aisen Herrera López, William Serrano Baby and Freddy Arias Robles.
Batista, 29, is convicted for the murders of the children, who were sleeping when the fire began in the room where they both slept, inside a home in San Francisco de Dos Ríos.
In the trial, the prosecution was able to prove that it was she who brought the fuel into the house and that was found in four different points of the home, although the woman never admitted it in her statements.
According to her testimony, she was with the children before they fell asleep and at no time said she perceived the smell of gasoline.
During the justification of the penalty imposed (a common practice of the judges when sentencing), judge Herrera described as cruel the form of death of minors and stressed that the young girl had a disability that hindered their mobility.
“These children had a very particular state that was evidently known to their mother, who took advantage of these circumstances to carry out the criminal act (…) and she sought the use of accelerators in the room where the children were, in a small space, this is cruel.
“The fire burned the body of the children (…) they died asphyxiated and that is a cruel death,” explained the judge.
In his statement, the judge added the mother (Batista) also prevented the children from leaving the room and that the neighbors declared that they heard the boy calling out for his mother.
For the judge, being at home with his mother gave the children a feeling of security and “she only tried to protect their integrity when the flames began”.
Herrera said that the argument presented by the defense, about the condition of poverty, was contradictory since relatives of the defendant told the Court that they helped her out when she needed it.
Batista will remain for six more months of pretrial detention, waiting out the appeal period before the sentence becomes firm.
The woman, a graduate in Business Administration, heard part of the sentence standing and with total serenity. She came dressed in white
The defense repeatedly tried to allege that the Batista suffered from some mental illness. The Court did not buy into the argument, deeming her able to stand trial.