(Kevin Coleman/WBZ NewsRadio)
WOBURN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Burlington daycare operator found guilty of taking an infant's life in 2014 was sentenced to three-and-a-half to four years in prison Friday morning.
Pallavi Macharla was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of six-month-old Righima Dhekane.
Macharla claimed she was babysitting Dhekane when she noticed the infant was choking on her food. She allegedly tried to save Dhekane by shaking her so hard, it caused bleeding in the brain.
Before being sentenced, an emotional Macharla addressed the court.
"I loved Righima so much, nearly as I love my daughter, and did not cause any harm to her," Macharla said. "I can understand the pain of the parents. I've been praying for them."
The sentencing could cause Macharla to be deported back to India once she serves her time.
J.W. Carney represented Pallavi throughout the trial, and gave his reaction after her sentencing.
"The sentence was not a harsh one," he said. "It was, in the eyes of many people, lenient. We thought that the judge should go down even further, for a lower sentence."
Lincoln Amere is a family friend of the defendant, and spoke on behalf of Macharla's family.
"She is good and innocent," Amere said. "She doesn't deserve to be in the jail."
Macharla's defense team plans to appeal.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kevin Coleman (@KevinColemanWBZ) reports