Ka Yang Booking photo from 2011
SACRAMENTO—Following three weeks of testimony, a Sacramento mother was convicted of first-degree murder on Friday, November 13 for microwaving her infant in early 2011.
According to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, Ka Yang, 34, placed her one-month-old daughter, Marabelle Thao-Lo, in a microwave oven for two to five minutes on March 17, 2011. The baby girl suffered extensive burns to over 60 percent of her body, including radiation burns that penetrated her internal organs.
Linda Parisi, Yang’s attorney, said her client unknowingly placed her child in the microwave after suffering a seizure, in what is known as a postictal state—an altered state of mind after an epileptic seizure that can last five to 30 minutes and cause confusion, agitation and unresponsiveness.
“Ms. Yang suffers from epilepsy,” Parisi told the court. “She had an epileptic seizure. It was not deliberate conduct. There is no history of child abuse. She has no criminal history.”
According to an affidavit in the case written by Sacramento Police Detective Thomas Shrum, Yang initially told investigators that while working on the computer with Mirabelle in her arms, she blacked out and woke up on the ground with the baby injured next to a space heater,
However, paramedics did not find her to be disoriented when they arrived. When police told her there were inconsistencies in her story, Yang later acknowledged she lied and said she might have a split personality, the affidavit said.
Yang’s three surviving sons are staying with family members.
She faces 26 years to life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Steve White on December 18.