A Rancho Palos Verdes woman pleaded no contest Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter for the death of her 2-year-old daughter, who she left alone in a car for hours with a heater on last year, officials said.
Lacey Ana Mazzarella, 35, entered a plea to one count each of voluntary manslaughter, mayhem and child abuse resulting in death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release.
In October 2019, she had pleaded not guilty to one count each of murder and child neglect resulting in death.
On the morning of Sept. 23, 2019, deputies responded to a report of a “baby not breathing” in the 22400 block of South Vermont Avenue in West Carson, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
They found the child, identified as 2-year-old June Love Agosta, unresponsive. The little girl was taken by paramedics to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Mazzarella told investigators at the time that she put her toddler in a parked car around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 22 and left the engine running with the heater on so the child wouldn’t get cold, according to a report from the county coroner. The mom then got into a nearby vehicle where she drank alcohol with a friend and eventually fell asleep.
When Mazzarella awoke around 5 a.m., she found her daughter unresponsive, with vomit on her shirt and car seat, according to the coroner’s report. She took the 2-year-old out of the car, put her on the grass and sprayed her with a water hose to try to cool her down, authorities said.
A call to 911 was placed but by the time the child arrived at the hospital, her temperature reached 107.5 degrees, according to the report. She also appeared to have burns on her face, chest and arms, and her eyes were cloudy.
Mazzarella is expected to be sentenced to 14 years and eight months in state prison on Jan. 13, the DA’s office said.
She has a history of drug abuse, and lost custody of another child — then 3 years old — seven years ago due to neglect, according to the coroner’s report.