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Erica Bell sentenced to 25 years to life for murder of Brook Stagles

Erica Bell was convicted on September 29 of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the death of three-year-old Brook Stagles. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The woman convicted of murdering a Greece toddler last November was sentenced Wednesday morning to 25 years to life in state prison.

Erica Bell was convicted on September 29 of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the death of three-year-old Brook Stagles.

Two days before Brook's death from blunt force trauma, Bell was arrested on drug charges. Judge Christopher Ciaccio said Bell not only caused Brook's ultimately fatal injuries, but prevented others from getting her necessary medical attention.

During the sentencing hearing Friday, Judge Ciaccio called Bell's actions "despicable", pointing to the physical abuse Brook endured, as well as the active prevention of letting anyone get her help.

The heartache was palpable in the courtroom for Brook. She was beaten so badly that doctors asked if she had been hit by a car.

"Erica punched her and she was feeling pain immediately," said Assistant District Attorney Sara VanStrydonck. "And she was feeling pain until she died and that was two long days."

John Geer, Brook's grandmother, told the court about the moment she died.

"As Brook was dying, I had to look at my daughter holding my granddaughter and go through that experience that I wouldn't wish on anybody."

Bell listened as the prosecution asked the judge for the maximum sentence. Lawrence Kaspersky, her defense attorney, asked for leniency.

"It's the fault of everyone who claimed that they were aware of circumstances and conditions and chose to do nothing," Kaspersky said.

But Judge Ciaccio did not waver, sentencing Bell with harsh words.

Last month, Michael Stagles - Bell's boyfriend and Brook's father - pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in his daughter's death.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 6, 2017, in front of Judge Ciaccio.

Criminally negligent homicide carries a sentence of one to four years in prison. Stagles has already served seven months of that.

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