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Dad who put baby in oven faces penalty

Galveston_Jurors resumed deliberations Wednesday on punishment for a young father convicted of badly injuring his infant daughter by putting her in a microwave.

Prosecutors are asking that Joshua Mauldin be sentenced to life in prison for stuffing his daughter Ana in a microwave and turning it on for 10 to 20 seconds. His defense attorney asked for probation so his client could continue receiving psychiatric treatment.

Jurors worked for over two hours Tuesday without reaching a decision on a sentence.

Earlier Tuesday, the jury convicted Mauldin, 20, of felony injury to a child, dismissing his claim he was having a psychotic episode when he put his then-2-month-old daughter in a Galveston hotel microwave in May 2007.

Mauldin had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The conviction came after about four hours of deliberations, which began Monday afternoon.

Galveston County prosecutor Xochitl Vandiver asked jurors to give Mauldin a life sentence because Mauldin had given his daughter a life sentence as well - one of physical and emotional scars.

Mauldin at first told police his daughter had been severely sunburned, later changing his story and saying he had accidentally spilled hot water on her while making coffee.

Ana suffered second- and third-degree burns to her left ear, cheek, hand and shoulder and required two skin grafts after being in the microwave. Part of her left ear had to be amputated.

"She will always for the rest of her life be reminded just by looking in a mirror," Vandiver said.

Prosecutors said Mauldin was angry that he was in a loveless marriage and took it out on his daughter. Just before putting her in the microwave, Mauldin had punched the baby and put her in the hotel-room safe and refrigerator.

They also said Mauldin had a history of violence and of lying about being mentally ill to get out of trouble.

But Mauldin's defense attorney, Sam Cammack III, said Mauldin has been wracked by mental illness since he was 10 years old. Cammack asked jurors to be merciful and give his client probation so he could continue receiving treatment.

Michael Fuller, a psychiatrist who examined Mauldin, earlier testified he could not conclude Mauldin was insane at the time of the crime. However, Fuller on Tuesday said Mauldin was not violent and would benefit from receiving treatment outside of prison.

"Let's give the kid the rest of his life in prison for hurting his child when we can't explain what happened? Don't do that," Cammack told jurors.

During the trial's punishment phase, Mauldin's mother, Joanie, pleaded for mercy.

"There is no way someone in their right mind would do something like that," Joanie Mauldin told jurors, crying.

Heather Croxton, Ana's foster mother, testified the little girl's wounds still need to be cleaned every day, and that she screams during the painful process. The little girl, who lives with Croxton and her family in College Station, has physical therapy five days a week.

Croxton said she hopes to adopt Ana, who turned 1 earlier this month. A trial to terminate the Mauldins' parental rights is scheduled for April.

Juan Lozano, AP Writer © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

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