An Oklahoma City woman who pleaded guilty to enabling the abuse that killed her child back in October 2011 is walking free, after serving only two years behind bars, all this despite being sentenced to life in prison.
Victoria Phantharath, who also spells her name Phanhtharanth, entered a plea of guilty back on March 25, 2013 and received a life sentence, but is now out with credit for time served.
This order granting that modification to the young mother's sentence was made March 28, 2014, by Oklahoma County Judge Kenneth Watson, the judge who heard the entire case.
Watson says he stands by his modification based on the testimony he heard, even though the woman's 3-year-old daughter is dead.
Alexis Hawkins, 3, was rushed to a hospital, but died the next day from her numerous injuries. Doctors say she had bruises all over her tiny body and had a massive skull fracture and severe brain swelling.
Both Alexis's mother, Victoria Phantharath, and her boyfriend, Freddy Mendez, admitted to abusing little Alexis.
11/4/2011 Related Story: Court Documents Reveal Abuse Before OKC Toddler's Death
A booking photo was issued for Phantharath the day she was to begin serving her life sentence. Little did she know she would only spend 12 months in prison before being set free. Judge Watson declined to go on camera.
The DA says Phantharath did cooperate with prosecutors and testified against Mendez, who was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for killing her little girl. But while prosecutors were in favor of some modification for Phantharath, they were strongly opposed to allowing her immediate release from prison.
DA David Prater says justice was not served in this case. He released the following statement to News 9:
"The District Attorney's office strongly opposed the modification of sentence resulting in the immediate release of Victoria Phantharath from prison. Prosecutors strongly argued that despite the fact Phantharath did not personally inflict injuries on her daughter, she wholly failed to protect her daughter from the homicidal actions of her boyfriend."
"She was legally and morally responsible for the protection of her daughter, and she stood by and allowed the child to be savagely beaten to death by Freddie Mendez."
"The office does recognize that despite having no agreement with the State of Oklahoma for any type of sentence reduction, Phantharath cooperated by providing credible testimony and other evidence which was key in the prosecution and conviction of Mr. Mendez."
"Nevertheless, regardless of her cooperation in that prosecution, justice was not served by her sentence modification to an immediate release from incarceration."
Judge Watson says the sentence modification served the best interest of justice, and points out Phantharath does have to follow several conditions, including taking counseling and living in transitional housing. She also will be supervised by the Department of Corrections for a minimum of 10 years.
10/31/2011 Related Story: Mother, Her Boyfriend Arrested In Death Of OKC Toddler