Brooklyn mother gets fifteen years in prison for fatally beating 9-year-old daughter

On Friday, a Brooklyn woman was sentenced to 15 years in jail for fatally beating her 9-year-old daughter despite the small girl’s pleas of “Mommy, help me.”

Shemene Cato, 50, was sentenced by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo for the death of her daughter Shalom Guifarro inside their Crown Heights apartment on May 15, 2022, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Cato, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in October, allegedly beat Giufarro and her 13-year-old sister for two hours with an electrical cable and a broom over a missing iPad.

Guifarro attempted to flee the continuous onslaught by hiding under a bed, but Cato pursued her, lifting the bed and then dropping it on the girl’s head when one of the bed’s legs broke off, according to the district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors said that the mother ignored her daughter’s calls for treatment while internally bleeding.

Guifarro died as a result of blunt force injuries to her head, face, and torso, according to the Chief Medical Examiner. The eldest daughter survived, but she was left with lacerations and contusions on her lower body.

Cato was charged with second-degree murder and could face life in prison if found guilty. On Oct. 26, however, she pled guilty to first-degree manslaughter.

According to city jail records, she has been detained on Rikers Island since her arrest on May 16.

“The life of an innocent young girl was tragically and horrifically cut short at the hands of her own mother,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Friday.

“Hopefully today’s sentence allows for some closure for all who were deeply affected by this heart-wrenching case.”

Cato’s residence had been visited 14 times by officers for domestic abuse accusations, the majority of which involved Cato reporting her ex for harassment. Nonetheless, no prior engagement by city child services had occurred.

Cato worked for the city’s Human Resources Administration, and her legal expenses were paid for by her union.

Her criminal defense attorney did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

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