VISTA (CNS) - An Oceanside woman who fatally beat her 4-year-old foster daughter pleaded guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter and other charges and faces 16 years behind bars.
In addition to manslaughter, Dania Haros pleaded guilty to three counts of felony child abuse and one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury in the Nov. 19, 2006, death of Angelina Espalin.
Sentencing is set for April 21 at the Vista Courthouse.
The victim's biological mother broke down and cried as Vista Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein accepted the 26-year-old defendant's guilty pleas.
The judge said he approved the plea bargain -- in which charges of murder and assault on a child were dismissed -- because of the defendant's lack of criminal record and lack of intent to kill.
Deputy District Attorney Kelly Mok said at an earlier hearing that Haros had Angelina as a foster child for less than six months when she beat her to death.
The child had extensive bruising to the face and body and 30 hemorrhages to her scalp, the prosecutor said.
Mok said Haros had extensive ties to Mexico and was in the process of moving to that country when she was arrested.
The county Medical Examiner's Office quickly declared the child's death a homicide, but it took a year to investigate the circumstances of the crime, Mok said.
A police investigator testified during a 2008 preliminary hearing that Haros admitted knocking Angelina's head into bedroom furniture three times in the hours before the child lapsed into unconsciousness.
The defendant and her husband initially took the youngster to Tri-City Medical Center, then the child was transferred to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, where she was declared brain-dead.
Oceanside police Sgt. Jeffrey Novak testified that after her arrest, Haros admitted that she started hurting Angelina two months before she died.
A social worker said Haros and her husband were working toward adopting Angelina and her little sister when the toddler died.
A transient was behind bars Tuesday on suspicion of fatally stabbing two other homeless men last week at an Otay Mesa strip mall.
San Diego County emergency and fire officials are urging residents to protect homes against devastating wildfires as fire season kicks into full gear.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday to celebrate the opening of a joint-use park at McKinley Elementary.
A vote is expected Tuesday as the Del Mar Fair Board considers transforming the Surf Side Race Place into a new indoor entertainment venue.
The San Diego City Council Tuesday formally approved a $225,000 settlement in litigation brought by a deputy city attorney, who alleged sexual harassment by her former supervisor.
The Gate Fire, which has burned about 2,056 acres northwest of Dulzura, was 95 percent contained Monday. Cal Fire also reported that all evacuation orders and warnings were lifted in the fire area.
The Gate Fire northwest of Dulzura has been fully contained. Cal Fire says its crews will remain on scene Tuesday mopping up and guarding against flareups.
The North County Transit District (NCTD) has voted to lay off its enforcement officers that patrol local train and bus stations.