Kent County mother who starved baby to death stays silent at sentencing
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Convicted of first degree murder for starving her baby, a Kent County mother fell silent the moments before a judge sentenced her to life in prison.
Tatiana Fusari, 31, declined to comment when given the chance in front of Judge Paul Denenfeld on Wednesday November 17.
Fusari was found guilty of first degree murder on October 12 after a jury deliberated for about three hours. Her husband, Seth Welch, had previously been convicted of the same charge and was sentenced to life imprisonment in May 2020.
Wednesday’s life sentence comes after Fusari pulled out of an earlier plea for second degree murder that called for at least 25 years in prison.
Relatives: Kent County mother denies starving baby’s death and testifies to alleged abuse of her husband in an emotional trial
Denenfeld allowed her to withdraw the plea in 2020 after putting forward a “coercive” defense, essentially alleging that her husband beat and abused her. The physical and mental abuse made it impossible for her to properly care for the baby, alleged Fusari and her lawyers.
The baby, 10-month-old Mary Welch, was found dead in her crib at the couple’s home in Solon Township near Cedar Springs on August 2, 2018.
The baby weighed only 8 pounds. She was born weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces.
During the trial of Fusari, she testified that her husband had repeatedly beaten and sexually assaulted her and would not let her in Mary’s room at night. At the same time, Fusari testified that she nursed Mary daily and gave her husband pureed fruits and vegetables so that she could feed Mary while she worked.
Denenfeld, who was also a judge in Seth Welch’s trial, said he thought the jury’s verdict was “rational and reasonable”.
“This is a tragic case. I’m not sure if I’ll ever understand what these parents thought or did, I think I have to say I literally have to watch their child starve to death, ”he said.
Relatives: “Mary got justice,” says prosecutor after convicting the woman of starving the baby
Outside the courtroom, defense attorney Damian Nunzio said that Fusari protests her innocence and that she plans to appeal.
“I think her testimony in court was confirmed that she doesn’t think she did anything wrong,” he said. “She had developed a perspective given to her by Seth Welch.”
While Nunzio said he believed the jury was paying attention during the testimony, he admitted that the autopsy photos were “overwhelming”.
“That was a very complicated case. I’ve tried many homicide cases, but this was probably one of the most complicated just because of the problems involved, ”he said.
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