A state appeals court panel upheld the conviction of a Palmdale woman who told investigators that a 24-pound French bulldog had caused the injuries that resulted in the death of a nearly 5-month-old boy who was left in her care.
The three-justice panel rejected the defense's contention that there were errors in the trial and sentencing of Brittany Ann Ingrassi, who is serving a 25-year-to-life term in state prison.
Ingrassi was convicted in May 2017 of second-degree murder, assault on a child causing death, assault on a child becoming comatose and child abuse.
Jurors also found true allegations that Ingrassi personally inflicted great bodily injury on the boy and that he was under the age of 5.
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Ingrassi's trial attorney, Nancy Mazza, contended that the injuries to Aiden Lopez were caused by a French bulldog owned by the baby's family.
"We firmly believe the injuries came from the dog," Mazza said after the verdict. "I respect the jury's verdict, but we will appeal."
The baby was left under Ingrassi's care at his Lancaster home the morning of March 22, 2016. His mother returned that evening and was met by Ingrassi outside the home and made aware that the baby was not breathing, according to trial testmony.
The mother called 911, and her son -- who had suffered skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury -- was taken to a local hospital, where he died four days later, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
The appellate court justices noted in their ruling Monday that Ingrassi told Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies that she left the boy on a baby mat while she used the restroom, heard him cry and saw the dog next to the boy when she came out of the restroom.
"Ingrassi repeatedly screamed, without the officers asking her any questions, 'The dog did it,'" according to the ruling.
The woman -- who had a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 percent six hours after her arrest -- initially claimed that the dog must have jumped on the boy, while she later said she may have "fumbled" and fallen while holding the baby, that she may have picked him up "too hard" or that he may have hit his head on the door, the justices noted in the ruling.