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Mother charged in baby's death offered 35-year plea deal
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Mother charged in baby's death offered 35-year plea deal

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CROWN POINT — A Hammond woman has until January to decide whether to plead guilty to a reduced charge and accept a 35-year prison sentence in her 4-month-old daughter's homicide.

Lisa M. Rodriguez, 26, is accused of causing the injuries that caused the death of her infant daughter, Brooklynn Rodriguez, on Dec. 4, 2018, at Franciscan Health hospital in Hammond.

Rodriguez's defense attorney, Derrick Julkes, asked Lake Criminal Court Judge Samuel Cappas on Thursday to set the case for trial.

Cappas set a pretrial hearing for Jan. 16 and scheduled Rodriguez's trial to begin Feb. 3.

Lake County Supervisory Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz said the state made an offer to Rodriguez that calls for her to plead guilty to a level 1 felony count of aggravated battery in exchange for a 35-year prison sentence.

If convicted of murder at trial, Rodriguez could face at least 45 years in prison. Rodriguez also is facing charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and battery on a person younger than 14.

If Rodriguez does not accept the plea offer by Jan. 16, prosecutors will take it off the table, Jatkiewicz said.

Brooklynn had bruises on her chin, collarbone and upper and lower back when Lisa Rodriguez brought her to the hospital, according to court records.

The baby was lifeless, pale and cold, and had swelling on the right side of her head, court records state. The cause and manner of death were blunt force trauma in a homicide.

Rodriguez gave inconsistent statements to police about who had been caring for her daughter, records allege.

Lake Juvenile Court ordered the baby be removed from Rodriguez's home Oct. 25, 2018, because she was born cocaine positive, but the Indiana Department of Child Services had been unable to locate Rodriguez or her daughter before the baby's death, records state.

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail

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