A former daycare provider at the Rock Tiers Learning Center in East Baltimore pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the death of an 8-month-old baby on Tuesday.
Officials sentenced 24-year-old Leah Walden to life in prison life with all but 70 years of the sentence suspended and five years of probation upon release.
In May of last year, surveillance video caught Walden slapping 8-month-old Reese Bowman, holding her down, and violently handling her before swaddling and placing her back into her crib and covering her head with multiple blankets and a pillow.
Her actions caused the baby to stop breathing. Walden then grabbed the baby from the crib at the end of naptime and took her to coworkers who later administered CPR before paramedics arrived.
The baby was later pronounced dead at the University of Maryland hospital.
At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby shared condolences to the family of the infant after Walden's guilty verdict.
"As a mother, my heart is truly broken over the tragic loss of an innocent 8-month old baby," said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “Parents trust childcare providers every day with the lives of our children and anytime someone maliciously betrays that trust by taking the life of a child, they deserve to be held accountable. Today's plea is part of that accountability and while it won't bring baby Reese back, I hope knowing that the person responsible for her death is spending 70 years behind bars, will begin to bring closure for this family."