A Brooklyn mother-of-two was sentenced on Wednesday to 18 years in prison for drowning her two-year-old daughter by holding her head underwater in a storage bin nearly four years ago.
Lin Li, 28, was convicted in June 2019 of manslaughter and two counts of acting in a manner injurious to a child in the death of her daughter, Melody Zheng, but was acquitted of second-degree murder.
A jury also found Li guilty of first-degree attempted assault for holding her four-year-old son’s head under water a day before Melody’s killing.
During Li’s sentencing, her defense lawyer spoke of his client’s ‘tough upbringing’ in her native China, and her deplorable living conditions in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, where he said the mother, her husband and their two young children lived in an apartment where they had to share a bathroom with a dozen other people.
Attorney Mario Romano described Li as a ‘loving, caring’ mother and said she ‘blames herself every day’ for what happened.’
He added, ‘I did not see the actions of a monster in what I read.’
When given a chance to address the court before learning her fate, Li, dressed in light-brown jail garb, broke down in tears as she spoke through a translator.
‘I would like to say being a mom, it is my duty to take care of my children, and I really regret my daughter’s death,’ she said through tears. ‘It was my mistake…losing my daughter is very, very painful to me.’