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Oct 26, 2018

Babysitter Who Caused Death of Child Ordered to Pay Family $4K in Compensation

Danna Banner

A woman has been ordered to pay the family of two-year-old Vernice Rodriguez Gonzalez four thousand dollars for causing her death. Thirty-one-year-old Danna Banner appeared before Justice Colin Williams who spared her a custodial sentence but rather, ordered her to pay the monetary compensation plus a two thousand-dollar fine after she pleaded guilty to causing death by careless conduct.  The case dates back to more than ten years ago, in May 2008, when Vernice died at the K.H.M.H.  A post-mortem revealed that she died due to blunt force trauma to the head. Banner accepted that she had physically punished the child and consequently caused her death. In court today, while apologizing to the family Banner as Justice Williams for leniency. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

Vernice Rodriguez Gonzalez

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

With tears running down her face, thirty-one-year-old Danna Banner walked out of the courtroom of Justice Colin Williams feeling relieved. Originally charged with manslaughter, Banner was sentenced today after pleading guilty to causing death by careless conduct- a charge she willingly accepted after her indictment was amended. She spent one month in jail before meeting bail.

Banner accepted causing the death of two-year-old Vernice Rodriguez Gonzalez in May 2008. Banner who lives in Ladyville village was left in charge of the two-year-old. However, during the days that the little girl was under her care, Banner physically punished Vernice. Days after, Banner found Vernice convulsing in her room. She was rushed to the K.H.M.H. where she died. The autopsy revealed that Vernice died due to a blow with a blunt object which caused hemorrhaging.

Fast-forward more than ten years after, Banner who has birthed four children; three girls, one who is a special needs child and a boy, accepted the facts read out by Crown Counsel Kileru Awich in the courtroom today.

 

Kileru Awich

Kileru Awich, Crown Counsel

“Danna Banner was there. She admitted that she was the one who took the child to the hospital. But her reason for taking the child to the hospital is that she was foaming in the morning from the mouth and her legs were twitching and turning. On the seventh of May she had used some slippers to spank the child on her bottom and on the night on May she had used a clothes hanger to lash the child after the child had urinated on herself. She goes on to say that on the tenth of May, she slapped the child when the child did not cleaned her nose. On the day in question when the child was admitted to the hospital, Danna Banner’s story is that she had left the bedroom and when she came back the child was on the floor foaming and twitching. That is her account of what took place but the doctor who conducted the post mortem said that the cause of death of blunt force trauma to the head.”

 

Banner, who apologized to the court and the family for Vernice’s death, asked Justice Williams for leniency, saying she has her family to take care of. Banner called her mother as a character witness. Justice Williams also read a letter sent by a Ladyville teacher who spoke highly of Banner, who escaped a custodial sentence. After considering all factors of Banner’s mitigation plea, Justice Williams saw if fit to order Banner to pay four thousand dollars to the family as compensation and two thousand dollars as a fine.

 

Kileru Awich

“You heard the judge explained in court that it might sound vulgar for persons to be ordered to pay compensation where a life is loss because you can’t put any monetary value on life but the judge was imposing a sentence based on the provided sentencing guidelines.”

 

Banner was ordered to pay on or before February first, 2019 or face one year in jail. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

 

This was the second time that Banner has been on trial for the death of the two year old girl. According to Awich, the first trial was aborted due to a mistrial.

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