Despite pleas for leniency from family members, a Maricopa mother was sentenced to seven years for abusing a stepchild.
Erin Darr, 36, pleaded guilty to two counts of abusing a child under the age of 15. She admitted to pushing the 13-year-old down a set of stairs and forcing the child to eat vomit. The state had asked for the maximum allowable of 7.5 years and lifetime probation.
Judge Christopher J. O’Neil, saying aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors, sentenced Darr to seven years in prison and 15 years’ probation. She was credited with 86 days behind bars. O’Neil also imposed fines totaling $5,520.
“I know I was wrong for what I did, and there’s not a day that goes by without wishing I would have done things differently,” Darr said.
She told the court she plans to continue taking parenting classes to be prepared when she is reunited with her children. She was a stay-at-home mom to six.
“Your honor, as you see I have a family at home that needs me and teens that need their mom’s guidance and love and presence as well as a husband who needs my support in raising them,” she told O’Neill. “This is why I’m asking for your leniency today in my sentencing, so I may return home to continue raising my children.”
The victim’s grandmother told O’Neil the victim has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and ADHD. Since being in her care, Cindy Miller said, the girl has grown and gained weight and is much healthier. She said her granddaughter just wants the case over and done.
Darr’s father, husband, sister, uncle and cousin spoke on her behalf at the Friday proceedings in Superior Court.
Beau Clute, her father, said Darr was always a “good kid.”
“Contrary to what the court believes or even what Erin says, in my heart I don’t think that this happened,” he said.
Husband Chad Darr, who is the father of the victim, said he had lost his family because of the situation.
“I lost all my children, and I miss every one of them,” he said. “I miss my wife. I know a lot of things could have happened in my house that I had no control over because I was not there. If it did happen, I apologize.”
He called Erin his best friend who helped him be a better husband and father while giving back to the community.
“I need my wife’s help raising our children,” he said. “I need to try to get my family back together.”
Erin Darr’s attorney, Terry Sutton, asked for 3.5 years of jailtime and five years’ probation. He said the court should have been more lenient with Darr because she was a first-time offender with family support.
Sutton conceded the crimes to which Darr pleaded guilty were “horrendous.”
Judge O’Neil agreed on the horrendous nature of the crimes.
“Those things may be very difficult for the family and friends and loved ones of Ms. Darr to accept, but those are things Ms. Darr has sought to take responsibility for and for which she stands before the court today,” he said.
O’Neil added Darr failed to provide or call for medical help when the victim was injured and lied to investigators “and enlisted her children to lie to conceal the abuse.”
During her probation after her prison sentence, O’Neil said Darr was to have no contact with the victim and no contact with her children under the age of 18.