A mentally ill mom who dropped her 6-month-old baby girl to her death from a Bronx window could be paroled as early as next month — after a judge sentenced her in what he called an “eminently fair” plea deal Tuesday.
Tenisha Fearon, 30, was naked and screaming, “We’re all going to die!” as she held little Jahnyla Lawrence out of a 6th-floor window in Fordham Oct 15, 2015, police said. She then yelled, “Praise the Lord” and “Hallelujah,” and dropped the infant.
On Tuesday, Judge Denis J. Boyle sentenced Fearon to three-and-a third to 10 years in state prison, a term both prosecutors and her defense lawyer said was fair. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter last month.
Because she’s been in jail since Jahnyla’s death, Fearon could be eligible for parole in February.
Fearon said a single word — “No” — when asked if she wanted to give a statement, and mouthed words to nine women, all family and friends, in the courtroom.
“It became very clear that there is nothing that Ms. Fearon has ever done that would lead her up to this,” Assistant District Attorney Nancy Borko told the judge, noting that psychiatrists observed “psychotic symptoms.”
Her other children — a 10-year-old boy and two girls, ages 8 and 3 — were inside the apartment, also naked, the day of Jahnyla’s death.
The prosecutor said she asked one of Fearon’s children about Jahnyla’s killing, and the child responded, “It wasn’t my mother,” then elaborated: “It was her, but it wasn’t like her. She wasn’t being like she was my mother.”
Fearon’s lawyer, Thomas Kenniff, said the plea agreement shows “the criminal justice system is not about vengeance. It’s about doing what’s just.”
“This may be the saddest situation I’ve ever been involved in,” he said. “The case will always remain a riddle without an answer, a case for which there will be no catharsis.”
Boyle called the plea agreement “an eminently fair plea” that “reflects well on the criminal justice system.”
Kenniff told reporters Fearon’s sisters, friends, and members of her church all support her, as does Jahnyla’s dad, the father of another of Fearon’s three surviving children.
“He’s raising them as well. He has been supportive of her. The children amazingly are persevering under unimaginably difficult circumstances,” Kenniff said.