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Bergen mom gets three years in shaken baby death

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: A Bergen County woman once charged with shaking her 3-year-old son to death was sentenced to three years in prison by a judge who cited the hardship a longer sentence would place on her other children, one of whom has a brittle-bone disease.

Laura Devita

Laura Devita, 29, was immediately taken into custody and is being held witho ut bail in the Bergen County Jail pending transfer to a state prison.

Devita must undergo intense supervision as part of the sentence imposed Wednesday by Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi in Hackensack.

DeAvila-Silbei, who could have meted a maximum of seven years, told Devita she was mindful of the need for deterrence.

But the judge also cited several mitigating factors in her sentence, including “a hardship impossible to quantify” on her three other children.

In particular, she cited a son who has a severe bone disease, noting that Devita is his primary caretaker.

Devita, a first-time offender, originally was charged by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with aggravated manslaughter and child endangerment the Feb. 10, 2007, death of her son, Kenyon Hough, in Elmwood Park.

But she failed to show up for her arraignment on the original charges.

In June 2009, Sheriff’s Officer Michael Thibault tracked her down and she was arrested by a fugitive task force in Paterson.

Devita steadfastedly held that she didn’t shake Kenyon, who died from internal bleeding of the brain.

She eventually accepted a deal from prosecutors, who dropped the aggravated manslaughter charge in return for her pleading guilty to endangerment on Jan. 18, 2011.

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