A woman whose daughter was killed by a train after the mother told the child to crawl under it was sentenced Tuesday to a six-year prison sentence.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t regret any of that, and I do. And I beg for your mercy so I won’t have to go into a prison,” Joy Frances Collins said in court before her sentence on child abuse charges was announced, according to KFSN-TV.
“I very much apologize, like I said, to the public and everything for all that happened during that time,” Collins said.
On December 17, 2018, Collins was trying to make a bus along with Joyanna Harris, 8, and her 9-year-old son. A freight train blocked their way.
Collins sent her children to crawl under the stopped train. Her son made it, but the train began to move as her daughter crawled under it, killing her.
Joy Frances Collins, who told eight-year-old daughter, 8, to crawl under idling train to catch a bus before child was killed when locomotive started to move, is jailed for six years https://t.co/AKqsnu7V12 pic.twitter.com/6Hvjk8jAZG
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) December 22, 2023
Judge Heather Mardel Jones said she did not like the way she felt Collins tried to shift blame for the girl’s death, according to the Fresno Bee.
“I do believe she feels sadness and remorse but I also believe she has convinced herself that this was an accident or that she could not have foreseen this happening or was responsible,” Jones said.
Jones said that the night the girl died was not the first time Collins had her children crawl under a train.
“That is akin to someone playing with fire and being shocked at being burned,” the judge said.
Jerry Dyer, who was the Fresno police chief at the time Collins was arrested, said that Collins told police the family had gone under a train at least seven other times, according to KTLA-TV.
“A mother placed her daughter in a position where she could be seriously injured or killed, and that’s what we have to look at,” Dyer said then. “We have a responsibility to hold that person accountable.”
Prosecutor David Devencenzi had called for a nine-year sentence, according to the Bee.
He noted Collins’s efforts to claim anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and disassociation were affecting her judgment.
“She is still hanging on to her story that her PTSD was triggered and that was an excuse for her decisions,” Devencenzi said.
Defense attorney Mark Broughton had called for Collins to be placed on probation.
Collins had been found guilty of two counts of child abuse and endangerment, according to the New York Post.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.