A Mexican woman living in Chesterfield County was acquitted of neglecting and fatally injuring a 7-month-old girl she was babysitting in December 2018 — one of three children the mother was watching, including her own.
After a two-day trial in Chesterfield Circuit Court, Judge David E. Johnson found Lirio Jazmin Godinez-Gonzalez, 34, not guilty of felony homicide and child neglect resulting in injuries in the death of Ashley Bonilla-Rodriquez, who died of blunt-force trauma to the head two days after being taken to a hospital on Dec. 27, 2018.
“My client was very emotional [after being cleared of the charge],” said defense attorney Ali Amirshahi. “She has never been locked up before. She has a 3-year-old son she hasn’t seen in 14 months.
“Her visa required her to leave the U.S. every so often, and she did that a couple of times,” Amirshahi said. “I think once she became pregnant, she didn’t leave and was in violation of her visa. They called her an ‘overstay,’ and because of that she technically became illegal.”
Amirshahi said his client was given the opportunity before trial to waive her right to a removal hearing, which would have resulted in her being deported to Mexico. But she declined. “I thought that was a pretty good indication that she wanted to come back and have her trial,” he said.