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Mesa woman pleads guilty in niece’s 2008 death

PHOENIX — A Mesa woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2008
death of her 3-year-old niece.

Maricopa County prosecutors said 34-year-old Latisha L. Breckenridge entered her
plea Thursday. She’s scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 24.

Breckenridge was arrested by Mesa police in April 2008 on suspicion of
second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of Juliana Ruiz.

Police said Breckenridge originally told investigators the girl fell off a
recliner and stopped breathing on March 19, 2008.

The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The county Medical Examiner’s Office said an autopsy showed the child’s death
wasn’t caused by the fall described by Breckenridge.

Police interviewed Breckenridge again and said she admitted to getting angry
with the girl and grabbing, pushing and tossing her.


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