An Indian American doctor in Massachusetts has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 death of a 6-month-old who was in her care.
Pallavi Macharla ran a daycare center out of her Burlington home and was responsible for the baby, Ridhima Dhekane, who died on March 27, 2014, officials said, according to a WCVB Boston report.
Macharla was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years, it said.
Prosecutors said the baby died from being shaken and having her head hit against something, according to the report.
"(The baby's) brain was subject to repeated acceleration, deceleration, slamming against the walls of her skull," Assistant District Attorney Katharine Folger said, according to the media outlet.
The defense denied those claims, arguing the baby became unresponsive after vomiting on applesauce.
“At that point, I heard a noise, gurgling noise from her mouth and I turned her towards me. And when I saw her face, her eyes were closed,” Macharla testified during the trial, according to the report.
Macharla, who is trained as a doctor, started performing mouth-to-mouth on the baby but didn't call 911. Instead, she called the baby's mother who arrived several minutes later, it said.
The baby was taken to Boston Children's Hospital and died three days later.
“As a trained medical doctor, you know how important it is to get immediate medical attention when somebody is critically ill,” Folger said.
“Yes, ma'am,” Macharla added.
Macharla insisted she never did anything to hurt Ridhima, but admitted she has changed her story since first talking to police, including that she'd left the baby alone while doing dishes, the report continued. Macharla noted that she failed to mention that a friend came over to visit the day the baby died and that she also cared for other children in her home.
Initially, Macharla was accused of shaking the baby, causing fatal blunt-force trauma. But the medical examiner who performed the autopsy later changed the cause of death to "undetermined."
Macharla’s attorney said the child had no visible signs of trauma when she was brought to the hospital and said the baby died from choking on applesauce, the report said.
Marcharla was also charged with running an unlicensed daycare center.
(AP contributed to this report.)