Tita Easley

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A Waco woman who tried to drown one son and who burned her other son with a cigarette was sentenced to two life sentences Wednesday.

Jurors in Waco’s 54th State District Court deliberated about two hours before determining punishment for Tita Yvette Easley, 38, who has a long history of mental illness and was off her medication because she was pregnant when the October 2011 offenses 
occurred.

The jury convicted Easley Wednesday of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and injury to a child.

She was convicted as a habitual offender, which increased her minimum sentences to 25 years and maximum punishment to life.

Easley, who has prior convictions for throwing urine on a jailer and for burglary of a habitation, must serve at least 30 years before she is eligible for parole.

Her sons, now ages 13 and 9, had jurors crying as they described the abuse they suffered at their mother’s hands. The boys and Easley’s infant daughter are living in foster homes.

Defense attorney Bill Johnston, who argued that Easley should be found not guilty by reason of insanity, asked jurors for a minimal sentence.

Prosecutors Gabrielle Massey and Hilary LaBorde asked the jury for life sentences.

“The jury had the opportunity to see what makes up Tita Yvette Easley,” Massey said. “She is a violent woman who victimized two precious children. These two boys showed incredible strength and courage to stand up to the physical abuse they endured at the hands of their own mother.”

In summations Wednesday, LaBorde said the older boy showed more parenting instinct than Easley because he often shielded his younger brother from his mother’s abuse and is very protective of him.

The younger boy showed jurors scars from where his mother burned his shoulder and hand with a cigarette after spitting in his face and hitting him with a shoe.

The older boy said his mother instructed him to get the water hose and fill up a hole in their yard on Ashburn Street.

She yanked him by the hand, threw him to the ground and forced his face into the water puddle, he said. She kept him under for so long he thought he was going to drown, he said.

After she let his head up, she put her knee on his neck and started punching him until her boyfriend pulled her off of him, the older boy said.

A Waco psychologist testified Tuesday that Easley was competent to stand trial but suffers from a variety of mental health disorders.

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