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A woman was sentenced to life in prison for beating to death her 4-year-old stepdaughter, whose bruised body was found on top of a dishwasher in her home.

A Tippecanoe County judge sentenced Michelle D. Gauvin, 34, on Wednesday to life in prison without parole after hearing six days of testimony about circumstances surrounding Aiyana Gauvin's death.

Gauvin pleaded guilty last month to murder, neglect of a dependent and confinement in the March 2005 slaying.

She admitted that she tied up Aiyana, duct-taped her mouth shut, spanked her with a broken cutting board, bit her and forced her to eat ground-up food. But she blamed her husband, Christian Gauvin, 35, with inflicting the head blow that killed Aiyana.

He faces trial next week on neglect of a dependent charge.

In imposing life without parole, Tippecanoe Superior Court Judge Thomas Busch ruled that Aiyana was under 12 years old and was subjected to torture before her death.

He found that those aggravating factors outweighed two mitigating factors Gauvin's defense attorneys claimed -- that the mother was suffering from extreme emotional disturbance at the time of the crime and that she acted under the substantial domination of her husband.

In addition to her murder sentence, Michelle Gauvin could face prison time on two felony charges of neglect of a dependent.

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