A Massachusetts woman who was charged with manslaughter in connection with the 2019 death of her 2-year-old daughter went to court Wednesday to change her plea to guilty.
Shaniqua Leonard was indicted in the case by a Plymouth County Grand Jury in August 2020. She pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
Leonard was sentenced to three-to-four years in jail plus five years of supervised probation.
On December 28, 2019, Whitman police responded to a 911 call for an unresponsive girl, later identified as Lyric Farrell, in an apartment at 863 Washington St.
Lyric was initially taken to Brockton Hospital, but she was later flown to Boston Children’s Hospital in critical condition, authorities said. Cruz’s office said Lyric was declared brain-dead on Dec. 30 and was taken off life support the next day.
Leonard called a social worker on Dec. 27, 2019, and said that Lyric had hit her head and was acting strangely. She was advised to get her daughter medical attention, sources said. Hours later, just after midnight, an ambulance was called, and sources said rescuers found Lyric unresponsive on the couch, wrapped in a blanket.
In 2020, Lyric’s grandmother said the 2-year-old had been in foster care for much of her life. Lyric was returned to Leonard’s custody just weeks before her death and was the last of a large family of children to be returned to Leonard, the toddler’s grandmother said.