Harrisburg woman gets 7-14 years for toddler’s death

A Harrisburg woman will spend 7-14 years in prison for the death of a 22-month-old girl in 2009.

Tajha Phillips pleaded guilty Monday to third-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child and was given more than two years credit for time served.

Phillips was the caregiver of Ayveionse Cruz-Carter and the girlfriend of the child's father when the toddler died May 6, 2009, according to authorities.

Investigators said an autopsy indicated Cruz-Carter died from asphyxia and multiple traumatic injuries that included dozens of deep bruises to her head and body as well as bite marks.

Prosecutors said they are not satisfied with the length of Phillips' sentence, and will ask the legislature to stiffen the punishments for child homicide.

“Being in the system, I understand why the sentence is what it is,” said prosecutor Sean McCormack.  “I certainly would have wanted to see a longer sentence and it's something our office, DA (Ed) Marsico and police, we struggled with, along with the victim's mother.”

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