(MSN) – A paranoid schizophrenic woman who smothered her toddler in a Midtown burger joint and claimed “the devil made me do it” will spend nearly two decades in prison.
Latisha Fisher, 38, on Monday was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the killing of 20-month-old Gavriel Ortiz-Fisher in March 2015. She spent 40 minutes in the 5 Boro Burger bathroom smothering him, officials said.
Fisher had rejected a plea offer from Manhattan prosecutors and then pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Wearing beige prison garb with a light pink sweater underneath, she appeared somber as she sat alongside her legal team.
Prosecutor Jessica Troy read two victim impact statements on behalf of little Gavriel’s father, Luis Ortiz Jr., and the tot’s paternal grandfather, Luis Ortiz Sr.
“The time I found out I was going to be a father, I was happy — and even happier it was going to be a boy,” Ortiz Jr.’s statement read.
Ortiz Jr., 36, wept as his statement was read aloud to the court.
He had dreamed of teaching his son how to ride a bike, and how to be a respectful young man.
“On March 20, I lost everything,” it read.
“Sometimes I blame myself … I should have gone there that day, maybe he’d still be here with us.”
The grieving father said he had found it in his heart to forgive Fisher but the pain still remained.
“I forgive you but I can never forget,” he said.
Prosecutors then read aloud Ortiz Sr.’s statement.
“In time, I will find a way to forgive you. For now, justice is served,” part of the 54-year-old’s statement read.
Fisher was then given an opportunity to speak.
“I’m sorry,” she said through sobs. “I love my son.”
Judge Gregory Carro noted Fisher, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, “clearly suffering mental illness (and) has taken responsibility for her actions.”
After the sentencing, Ortiz Jr. and Sr. said they finally felt they had some closure.
“Hanging in there, entirely, step by step, day by day,” the child’s father said.
Ortiz Jr., who also has a 1-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter, told reporters he still feels immense guilt over the day his son was killed and feels he could have prevented the murder had he taken Fisher up on an invitation to join them that fateful day.
“She asked me to go but I couldn’t go because I had school and work,” he said sorrowfully. “I could’ve went.”
Ortiz Sr. then interrupted his son and said, “Don’t ever think that it’s your fault, ‘cause it’s not. OK?
“She owned up to what she did. That’s the only thing I always wanted,” Ortiz Sr. added.
Fisher’s attorney, Bryan Konoski, said had his client decided to proceed to trial on the issue of mental illness, it could have resulted in a life sentence. The resolution of manslaughter gives Fisher an 18-year sentence with credit for time she’s already served.
“By pleading guilty and accepting this resolution, she has saved herself the risk of a possible life sentence. One day she will have an opportunity to be released back into society,” Konoski said.
“One of the first things that she said when people came and found her with her deceased child was that the devil made her do it,” he said.
“I think it’s really unquestionable she has a mental illness. The ultimate question was whether she knew or understood that what she did was wrong.”