CANTON, Ohio – A woman accused of killing her 5-year-old daughter, which was later found hidden in her family’s Ohio restaurant, was Friday sentenced to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and other charges.
Ming Ming Chen has been charged with the murder, but Stark County prosecutors changed that to involuntary manslaughter under a plea deal. Chen, 30, also pleaded guilty to evidence-tampering, corpse abuse, child endangering and obstructing justice.
The body of her daughter, Ashley Zhao, was found, hidden in the family North Canton restaurant after the child was reported missing last January. The authorities said that Chen repeatedly against the girl and Chen, the man tried to revive her for helping to hide the body.
County Prosecutor John Ferrero said the evidence and the interviews in the case, indicate Chen did not intend or plan to kill her daughter and that was a disaster “, committed in a fit of anger by a mother who never bonds with her child.”
Lawyer Richard Drucker did not agree with that characterization, saying that Chen has been and is taking responsibility for her actions, but that if the case had gone to trial, they would have argued that Chen’s husband was violent in the direction of both the girl and Chen and that he also gave a responsibility in the death.
Chen’s husband, Zhao Liang, previously pleaded guilty to charges including obstructing justice and corpse abuse and agreed to testify against his wife. A murder charge against him was dropped. His lawyer previously said Zhao maintained his innocence of the child’s death.
It was a sad situation for Chen, who came to the U.S. illegally from China as a teenager in search of a better life, started a family with a Us citizen who was also Chinese and ended up in a violent household, Drucker said.
“I don’t think she was a monster,” Drucker said. “I think that she was a woman that made very bad choices in her life at the moment.”
Because they are in the U.S. illegally, authorities said that Chen is expected to be deported to China after serving her punishment.
Court data referred to her as a Mingming Chen, although the lawyers in the case to the game her name as three words instead of two.