LONG BEACH (CBS) — A Long Beach couple whose 31-day-old daughter died last summer pleaded no contest Friday to felony child abuse and were immediately sentenced to prison terms.

Long Beach Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani sentenced the baby’s mother, Melissa Swanson, 35, to nine years behind bars, according to Deputy District Attorney Carol Rose.

Michael Cross, 42, the father, was sentenced to nine years and eight months in state prison.

In addition to the child abuse count, the two also admitted allegations of child abuse resulting in death and use of a dangerous weapon — a hard surface, the prosecutor said.

Cross additionally pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of cocaine base, Rose said.

The two were charged in the Aug. 11, 2011, death of their daughter, Michaela. Paramedics were called to their home in the 600 block of Magnolia Avenue, where the baby was in cardiac arrest, and tried unsuccessfully to save her.

The infant died from blunt force trauma to the head. She suffered numerous injuries over a two-week period before her death, including two black eyes and a burn on the cheek and under the chin, the prosecutor said.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


Comments (5)
  1. michaele says:

    What the f&^k is wrong with our “justice” system? How is it justice to receive under 10 years for the death of your 31 day old baby? What is even more sickening is they will both be out in 5 years. There are some major issues with our justice system when killers are doing 5 years and then you have people doing 20 to life for drug or robbery crimes, and I am not saying they shouldn’t be doing time in any way shape or form, what I am saying is the death of a child or any person should carry more time than robbing a person or store. Isn’t life more precious than any material goods?

    1. Karen says:

      I completely agree. Here is another case where the victim is totally defenseless and the punishment is not sufficient for the crime.

  2. Me says:

    The problem is not just the “justice” system as much as the judges that are selling themselves to lawyers, the rich, etc for personal favors. Is the only explanation for such irrational decisions to let these criminals go free.

  3. Alan Hart says:

    It seems that the courts just want them locked up until their past their breeding age so the gene pool will no be polluted.

  4. patty.lanier says:

    this story was hard to follow.

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