Young Modesto mother sentenced in rat poison case

1:32 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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Cashel Sophia Phin

MODESTO, CA - An 18-year-old Modesto woman accused of trying to poison her own child with rat poison was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday morning.

Cashel Sophia Phin was originally charged with attempted murder, solicitation to commit murder and willful poisoning when she allegedly had her baby daughter's bottle poisoned.  She  pleaded no contest to the solicitation charge when the case developed problems.

"The baby bottle had been destroyed and the rat poison wasn't present.  We've learned the jury likes to have hard physical evidence rather than just statements by witnesses," said prosecutor Beth O'Hara Owen.  "Six years might not seen like enough, but that's what had to be done."

Owen said it also hurt the case when family members who originally provided information to prosecutors changed their statements.

Phin's attorney said the sentence was a good resolution, considering his client's mental health problems.  He also offered information about why Phin might have behaved the way she did. 

"She was depressed and raped.  When she saw the face of the baby, she thought about the person who raped her, the father.  It's why she was so detached from the child," said Donnell Spikes.

Spikes said the baby is now in foster care and doing well. 

Owen said Phin, with good behavior in prison, will likely serve 85 percent of the sentence.



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