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Fla. Woman Who Burned Teen Daughter Sentenced

June 20, 2002|From Reuters

MIAMI — A Florida woman who poured gasoline on her teenage daughter and set her on fire in a fit of jealousy over a man was sentenced to 50 years in prison, court officials said Wednesday.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Scott Silverman sentenced Maria Tarrago to the maximum penalty allowed by law.

"To describe your actions as depraved, despicable, heinous or cruel would simply be an understatement," Silverman told her.

Tarrago, 41, could have been sentenced to as little as six years in prison. She was convicted in March of attempted second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and evidence tampering.

She acknowledged pouring gasoline on her then-15-year-old daughter, who caught fire as Tarrago flicked a cigarette lighter. But she told the judge she only meant to frighten the girl and that the fire was an accident.

Her daughter, now 18, was burned over 23% of her body and badly disfigured on her face, ears, arms and upper body.

She testified that her mother became enraged when she returned home from school on Dec. 6, 1999, with the mother's boyfriend. "I will teach you a lesson you will never forget," Tarrago said, and set her on fire, the daughter testified.

Tarrago was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder. Under that charge, the act is considered premeditated and is punishable by life in prison. Jurors convicted her of attempted second-degree murder, finding that she acted impulsively.

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