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Judge reduces Indian-American baby-sitter’s life sentence in infant’s death

NRI Pulse Staff Report

Atlanta, GA, September 4, 2019: A judge has reduced the second-degree murder conviction of an Indian-American mother of two in Massachusetts, who was charged in 2014 with shaking a six-month old baby in her care to death.

Judge Kenneth Fishman said in his decision to reduce the verdict to involuntary manslaughter that he could not permit the murder conviction to stand “in the presence of such highly contested and inconsistent evidence,” reports Boston Globe. He said there was no evidence that Macharla intended to hurt the infant.

Judge Fishman however denied a defense motion to acquit Macharla. She will be resentenced next month.

Macherla was earlier sentenced to life in prison.

Macharla ran an unlicensed daycare center out of her Burlington home and was responsible for the baby, Ridhima Dhekane, who died on March 27, 2014.

Prosecutors said Macharla, who worked as a medical doctor in India before moving to the US, became frustrated with baby Ridhima Dhekane because she was fussy and shook her violently, causing her brain to bleed.

But Macharla’s defense insisted the 6-month old had vomited shortly after she fed her homemade applesauce and had no visible signs of trauma when she was brought to the hospital.

Macharla 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, according to media reports.

The infant, who was taken to Boston Children’s Hospital, died three days later.

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.”

Defense attorney J. W. Carney Jr. after the verdict, had slammed the medical community for adhering to a science he said was outdated.


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