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Lynchburg woman sentenced to 23 years in prison for murder of infant daughter

Judge says sentence is not enough, system failed 22-month-old

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Fantasia Lane pleaded guilty on Wednesday to murder, child abuse and child endangerment in the death of her own daughter, Amarah Lane.

In the courtroom Wednesday afternoon, while the commonwealth read the evidence they would have put on trial, Fantasia Lane sat with her head down.

Once the judge accepted her guilty plea, he said to her quote, "How violent, how evil, how selfish and indifferent to human life. You are the answer to those questions."

The judge said a 23-year sentence is not enough for what Amarah Lane went through and that the system failed the 22-month-old girl. 

Through a plea deal, the 21-year-old mother will spend 23 years in prison. Without that, the mother of two would have gone to trial in March, facing a maximum of 55 years.

"I really feel like the full term would have probably been the best for her. She shouldn't be able to get a chance to come back out. I think 55 years would've been the better sentence for her," said Sonya Woody, Amarah's grandmother. 

"So with this, there is certainty -- certainty for the family -- there's closure," said Bethany Harrison, the Commonwealth's Attorney. "They don't have to relive the horrible details of this case over a multi-day jury trial and then also, there's nothing for her to appeal."

On August 11, Lane brought Amarah to Lynchburg General Hospital.

Nurse investigators there found bruises, scratches and burn marks on the toddler.

In court, 10 News learned Lane said Amarah fell off the bed, hitting her head on the ground. It took Lane two hours before she took Amarah to the hospital. 

The little girl was transported to UVA hospital in Charlottesville, where she later died from sodium poisoning. 

"Our theory of the case was that there was salt poisoning, in addition to food and water restrictions that caused her to have high sodium levels and ultimately caused her death," said Harrison. 

Amarah's father's family says they miss her, and celebrating Christmas without her will be difficult.

"We really miss her a lot. It's been really hard, when you go shopping. When I look at the children's things. I miss being able to have that time with her," said Woody. 

Lane's sentence began today. As for her second child she gave birth to while in jail, the Commonwealth tells us the baby is in the care of social services. 


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