Turlock mother sentenced to 15 years to life in 2-year-old
By Rosalio Ahumada - Modbee.com
December 13, 2013
Brandy Lee Rose Devine stood in court Friday and apologized to
her children, especially the 2-year-old daughter who was left
alone in a room without water or food for nearly three days before
being found dead in her crib.
“I hope they can forgive me one day,” Devine said shortly
before she was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the
death of Stephanie Torres.
The defendant told authorities she smoked methamphetamine with
an unknown man in her home while Stephanie, who had cerebral
palsy, remained alone in another room that weekend.
A jury last month decided Devine was guilty of second-degree
murder in the July 2012 death of her daughter. The jury of six
women and six men deliberated for about an hour before they
returned to the courtroom with a verdict.
On Friday, Devine also apologized to the rest of her family,
several of whom were in the courtroom for the sentencing hearing.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” Devine said in
court. “I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected by
In criminal cases, victims or members of their families are
allowed to speak in court before the sentencing. When the
prosecutor asked, nobody stood up in court Friday to speak on
Stephanie’s behalf or about the impact of her death.
Devine, 26, also was found guilty of committing willful cruelty
to a child with an enhancement of inflicting great bodily injury
on the child, along with a misdemeanor charge of using meth. For
these charges, the defendant received a stayed sentence of 10
years and 90 days. That means she could be ordered to serve that
additional time in prison if she is released and violates parole.
Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves scheduled Devine
to be transferred to prison Jan. 3.
In his closing arguments to the jury, Deputy Public Defender
Marcus Mumford didn’t contest the child cruelty and meth use
charges. But he said his client didn’t know at the time that not
feeding her child or giving her water would result in Stephanie’s
While Devine acted irresponsibly, Mumford told the jury, her
conduct was criminally negligent but not murder.
Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne told the jurors that the
defendant knew her actions could have grave results. He said the
child starved to death in a “monstrous” fashion with her mother
just a few feet away throughout that weekend.
The prosecutor also told the jury there was plenty of formula
for Stephanie in the home, and Devine fed her other three children
that weekend, including her infant son. Mayne and Deputy District
Attorney Merrill Hoult prosecuted the case against Devine.
Stephanie was prematurely born at 29 weeks and had suffered
complications that resulted from a lack of oxygen to the brain.
The premature birth resulted in her chronic medical conditions.
Cerebral palsy forced Stephanie to undergo regular occupational
therapy to improve her delayed motor skills. She also required a
nightly dose of medication.
Pathologist Eugene Carpenter testified in the trial that
Stephanie died from dehydration and malnourishment. He said she
had not been fed or given anything to drink for several days
before she was found dead.
Carpenter also said Stephanie had been dead a day or two when
she was discovered in the crib about 12:30 p.m. July 16, 2012, at
her family’s duplex in the 1100 block of North Denair Avenue in
Even though Stephanie was nearing her third birthday, her body
appeared the size of a 1- or 2-year-old in her autopsy, according
to the pathologist. He testified the child weighed about 13 pounds
and that her eyes were soft and her skin was like red dough, both
signs of dehydration. He said her abdomen was caved in so much
that her spine was almost visible.
Mother sentenced to 15 years for the murder of her cerebral
palsy daughter, 2, who was left to starve during a weekend meth
Stephanie Torres was discovered dead in her crib from
dehydration and malnourishment July 16, 2012
Pathologist said 2-year-old weighed only 13lbs, had skin
like red dough from lack of water, and her abdomen was so caved
in her spine was nearly visible
Mother Brandy Lee Rose Devine told police she was smoking
meth with a man and thought her 6-year-old son would take care
December 13, 2013
A California woman was sentenced today to 15 years behind bars
in the death of her 2-year-old disabled daughter who was left
alone with no food or water for nearly three days while her mother
was getting high.
Standing in court in a red jail garb with her hair slicked
back, a noticeably plumper Brandy Lee Rose Devine apologized to
her four children, especially to baby Stephanie, who was
discovered dead in her crib July 16, 2012.
'I hope they can forgive me one day,' the woman said.
Last month, a jury found Devine, of Turlock, guilty of
second-degree murder. She was also convicted on drug counts and
cruelty to children.
Devine told authorities she smoked methamphetamine in her home
with an unknown man while her daughter remained in a room alone
all weekend surrounded by cats.
Deputy District Attorney John Mayne told the jurors Stephanie
starved to death in a 'monstrous' fashion, even though there was
plenty of baby formula in the house, and the mother fed her other
three children that weekend, Modesto Bee reported.
Marcus Mumford, Devine's defense attorney, insisted his client
didn't know at the time that not feeding her child or giving her
water would result in death and that Devine's conduct was
criminally negligent but not murder.
At her sentencing Friday, Devine sounded a markedly different
'I accept full responsibility for my actions,' she said. 'I
want to apologize to everyone who has been affected by my
Little Stephanie Torres was delivered prematurely at 29 weeks
and suffered severe medical problems, including cerebral palsy.
An autopsy showed that the special-needs child who required
constant therapy and medication died from dehydration and
At the time of her death Stephanie was nearing her third
birthday, but appeared much smaller when her body was examined by
Dr Eugene Carpenter testified that the toddler weighed only
13lbs and had soft eyes and skin 'like red dough' indicating lack
The victim’s abdomen was caved in to the point that her spine
was almost visible through her stomach, according to the medical
In March, neighbor Lydia Whitworth said in court that when she
saw Stephanie’s body in the crib on the afternoon of July 16, the
child was grey, and her diaper was filled with urine and
Around her, the room was permeated with the stench of cat
urine, and feces from Devine's multiple pets littered the floor.
The detective who interviewed Devine said that the women told
him she had assumed her 6-year-old son was taking care of the
2-year-old special-needs girl while she was busy smoking
methamphetamine to make herself feel better.
Turlock mother guilty of smoking meth as
toddler starved to death
By Ari Bloomekatz
- Los Angeles Times
November 08, 2013
A jury this week found a Stanislaus County
mother guilty of second-degree murder after she left her
2-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy alone in a room for days
without food or water as she hung out and smoked methamphetamine.
"This is a child who starved to death," Deputy
Dist. Atty. John R. Mayne told the jury. "This is a horror movie."
Brandy Lee Rose Devine was found guilty
Thursday in the July 2012 death of her daughter, Stephanie Torres,
according to the Modesto Bee.
The jury deliberated for just an hour before
returning with a verdict.
Devine's attorney had told the jury that they
were not contesting the child cruelty and meth charges, but
claimed the mother did not know at the time that not feeding her
child or giving her water would result in death.
The attorney claimed it was criminally
negligent, but not murder.
A pathologist testified during the trial that
the girl died of dehydration and malnourishment and that the girl
had been dead a day or two before she was discovered.
Occupational therapist says Turlock toddler
with cerebral palsy was making progress before she was found dead
By Rosalio Ahumada - Modbee.com
November 5, 2013
TURLOCK — Stephanie Torres was diagnosed with
cerebral palsy, a chronic medical condition that significantly
limited her ability to move on her own. The little girl couldn’t
even tolerate lying on her tummy, an occupational therapist told a
After about a year and half of therapy
sessions, Stephanie was making progress as she was nearing her
third birthday. The toddler had learned to feed herself, she could
crawl on the floor and she was able to sit up on her own.
Sharlyn Wenberg, the occupational therapist who
helped Stephanie develop those skills, didn’t see the little girl
again after their last session in late June 2012. She tried twice
without success the following month to find Stephanie and her
family at their Turlock home.
Wenberg knocked on the front door of the duplex
apartment for the last time between 4 and 5 p.m. July 13, 2012,
but nobody answered. She didn’t hear anything inside the home,
“just the television.”
Three days later, the 2-year-old girl was found
dead inside a crib. A pathologist has said in court that the
toddler had not been fed or given anything to drink for several
days before she was discovered.
Stephanie’s mother, Brandy Lee Rose Devine, is
accused of murder and willful cruelty to a child. Authorities say
the mother smoked methamphetamine and left her daughter in a room
all weekend without checking on her.
Devine’s trial continued Tuesday with testimony
from Wenberg, who works with many children suffering from cerebral
palsy. Through regular therapy sessions, she helps the children
improve their cognitive, physical and motor skills.
When Wenberg first started working with
Stephanie, the child had about a 50 percent delay in the
development of her motor skills. Stephanie was 15 months old and
didn’t have control of her hands. She couldn’t roll over on her
own. She was fearful when her body was moved around. She could
drink a bottle but couldn’t hold it on her own. And she couldn’t
sit up on her own or lie face down, which enables children to
learn how to push themselves up.
Wenberg testified that she conducted 20 to 30
in-home occupational therapy sessions with Stephanie. Each lasted
about an hour. The therapist would always bring a small rug and
blanket for Stephanie to lie on during the sessions.
“It was often dirty, unswept,” Wenberg said
about the living room floor of Devine’s duplex apartment. There
were some times, however, when the apartment was clean, she said.
There were a few cats in the apartments, and their litter boxes
produced a pungent urine odor in the home, according to Wenberg.
During questioning from Devine’s attorney,
Wenberg said Devine’s apartment was not the only messy home she
has encountered while working with hundreds of clients. She said
she liked Devine from the beginning, and it appeared that the
mother loved Stephanie and was interested in the child’s progress.
She said Devine initially seemed engaged in her
daughter’s therapy. Devine would participate in the sessions
before Stephanie became familiar and comfortable with Wenberg.
It later became difficult to reach Devine and
schedule appointments. Wenberg testified that Devine’s phone line
was sporadically out of service. While the therapy sessions were
intended to be weekly, she was able to work with Stephanie only
once or twice a month.
One day, Devine asked Wenberg to conduct the
therapy at Devine’s mother’s Turlock home because she was going to
be visiting. The therapist thought this would be a one-time
arrangement, but she eventually conducted six to eight sessions at
Stephanie’s grandmother’s home. Devine was not there.
During cross-examination, Wenberg said some
parents leave the room during therapy sessions with their children
and that there is no requirement for parents to be present. It’s
uncommon, however, for parents to miss sessions, she testified.
Stephanie made good progress during the weekly
sessions at her grandmother’s home. The little girl still couldn’t
grasp anything with her left hand, which remained closed in a
fist. But she could feed herself with a spoon with her right hand.
Wenberg told the jury Stephanie could move
independently on the floor and was able to form words.
The therapist described Stephanie as “feisty”
and said the toddler could be “charming when she wasn’t being
But Stephanie’s progress ended in late June
2012. The child’s grandparents had scheduled a trip to Idaho for
their vacation, so the sessions had to be moved back to Devine’s
home. Wenberg testified that her attempts to conduct further
therapy sessions were unsuccessful.
Testimony is expected to continue today in
Stanislaus County Superior Court.
Turlock mom will face trial
in girl's death
By Rosalio Ahumada - Modbee.com
March 4, 2013
MODESTO — Stephanie Torres had yet to turn 3
years old when she was found lifeless in her crib wearing a pink
dress and a soiled, wet diaper. A pathologist testified that the
little girl from Turlock had not been fed or given anything to
drink for several days before she was discovered.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Dawna
Reeves on Monday ruled that there was enough evidence for the
toddler's mother, Brandy Lee Rose Devine, to stand trial, accused
of murder and willful cruelty to a child in connection with
The judge scheduled Devine to return to court
March 18 for an arraignment. The defendant remains in custody at
the Stanislaus County Jail.
Devine, 25, also will stand trial charged with
using methamphetamine and an enhancement alleging that she
inflicted great bodily injury on the child.
Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne and
Deputy Public Defender Marcus Mumford have agreed to stipulate
that blood taken when Devine was arrested tested positive for meth
use within the past 72 hours.
Pathologist Eugene Carpenter testified Monday
that the girl had been dead a day or two before she was found in
the crib about 12:30 p.m. July 16 at the home in the 1100 block of
North Denair Avenue in Turlock.
Carpenter said Stephanie died from dehydration
He said she had been prematurely born at 29
weeks and had suffered complications that resulted in lack of
oxygen to the brain. The premature birth resulted in chronic
medical conditions, possibly cerebral palsy.
The pathologist, however, made it clear that
the child died as a result of neglect.
"This is an injury to a very sick child,"
Carpenter testified. "This is not caused by the chronic
Even though Stephanie was close to her third
birthday, Carpenter said the girl's body appeared the size of a 1-
or 2-year-old. She weighed about 14 pounds. He said the child's
eyes were soft and her skin was like red dough, both signs of lack
Carpenter, who conducted the autopsy, testified
that the child's abdomen was caved in, so much that "you could
almost see the spine."
A detective testified last week that Devine
told him she had put Stephanie in a room the Friday before the
Monday when she was found dead and had not opened the door the
entire weekend. Devine also told him she smoked meth after feeling
ill all weekend.
Grim details emerge in death of Turlock tot
By Patty Guerra - Modbee.com
March 1, 2013
MODESTO — A Turlock woman locked her 2-year-old daughter in a
room with five cats and left her there for the weekend while she
smoked methamphetamine with a friend, prosecutors allege.
A neighbor and two police officers testified Friday morning in
the preliminary hearing of Brandy Lee Rose Devine, who is accused
of murder and willful cruelty in the July death of her daughter,
Devine, 25, had four children, ranging from a newborn to 6
years old at the time of the July 16 incident.
Neighbor Lydia Whitworth said Devine's older children often
played with Whitworth's granddaughter. They regularly appeared
disheveled and dirty and would ask for something to eat.
In Stanislaus County Superior Court on Friday morning,
Whitworth broke down and cried when describing the day of July 16,
when she heard Devine screaming and went to investigate.
Devine, in a red jail shirt and pants and wearing a long
ponytail, stared straight ahead during testimony, her right leg
shaking throughout the hearing.
"She goes, 'The baby's dead,' " Whitworth said.
The neighbor said she thought Devine was referring to the
infant, a boy. "She said, 'No, the baby.' "
Whitworth went into the back bedroom, where she found Stephanie
in a crib.
"She was laying in her crib just straight, with her eyes rolled
back in her head," Whitworth said.
When prosecutor John Mayne asked about Stephanie's apparent
health, Whitworth answered. "She was dead. She was totally gray.
Her diaper was full of poop and urine and it was all on the bed."
Whitworth and police officers Amy Beebe and Justin Williamson,
who responded to the case, also described an overwhelming smell in
Beebe, the first responder on site, described it as a "very
heavy odor of cat urine."
The prosecution witnesses also said they saw several cats, cat
litter and feces in the cluttered room.
Beebe said she took Stephanie out of the crib and laid her on
the hallway floor, the only flat surface readily available. She
said the little girl was cold, and attempts to perform CPR were
unsuccessful. When firefighters arrived they declared the girl
Williamson, the detective assigned to the case, said Devine
told him she had put Stephanie in the room the Friday prior to the
Monday when she was found and had not opened the door the entire
The cause of Stephanie's death has not been publicly disclosed.
Williamson said Devine provided food for her other children,
but not for Stephanie, who suffered from cerebral palsy.
"She told me she assumed her 6-year-old child was caring for
her 2-year-old child," Williamson said.
But the 6-year-old told authorities that Devine wouldn't let
her check on Stephanie during the weekend.
Devine also has been charged with the use of methamphetamine
and an enhancement alleging that she personally inflicted great
bodily injury on the child.
Prior to Friday's hearing, Mayne and defense attorney Marcus
Mumford agreed to stipulate that blood taken when Devine was
arrested tested positive for methamphetamine use within the past
Williamson said Devine told him she smoked methamphetamine with
a man she knew only as "Scott" on Sunday after feeling ill all
"She thought it would help her wake up and feel better,"
Devine's oldest child, who is now 7, is expected to testify
when the preliminary hearing resumes Monday. Mumford said he does
not plan to call any witnesses.
At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, Judge Dawna
Reeves will determine if there's enough evidence to proceed to
Hearing set for Turlock mom
accused of killing 2-year-old daughter
By Rosalio Ahumada - Modbee.com
September 7, 2012
MODESTO — A judge has scheduled a preliminary
hearing March 1 for a Turlock mother accused of murder and willful
cruelty to a child in connection with the death of her 2-year-old
Brandy Lee Rose Devine, 25, was arrested July
16 after authorities found her daughter, Stephanie Torres, dead at
their home in the 1100 block of North Denair Avenue in Turlock.
The defendant appeared briefly Friday morning
in Stanislaus County Superior Court. Judge Dawna Reeves scheduled
Devine to return to court Oct. 12 for a pretrial hearing before
the March preliminary hearing, when the judge will determine if
there's enough evidence to proceed to trial.
Devine also has been charged with use of
methamphetamine. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and
remains in custody with her bail set at $1 million.
An enhancement has been added to her charges,
alleging that she personally inflicted great bodily injury on the
child. If convicted, the enhancement could lengthen a prison
The criminal complaint alleges that the child's
death occurred between July 13 and 16. About 12:30 p.m. July 16,
Turlock police responded to the home for a report of a
nonresponsive child. When officers arrived, they found the child
Turlock Woman Arrested After
Her 2-Year-Old Daughter Dies
July 17, 2012
TURLOCK (CBS13) – A 2-year-old child in Turlock
was found dead and her mother was arrested on Monday afternoon and
charged with homicide, police said.
Turlock police officers responded to the 1100
block of N. Denair to assist emergency medical personnel after
receiving a 911 call from a neighbor of a non-responsive child.
When officers arrived at the residence, the
2-year-old girl was deceased.
The baby’s mother, Brandy Devine, 24, was later
interviewed by investigators and was subsequently arrested for
homicide, child endangerment and cruelty to a child, police said
Police said three other children were in the
house at the time, a 6-year-old girl, 4-year-old girl and an
infant boy. They were taken into protective custody and turned
over to Child Protective Services. Police didn’t elaborate on what
might have caused the child’s death.
Anyone with information regarding this case is
asked to call Detective Justin Williamson at (209) 668-5550