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Suburban Phoenix woman sentenced in niece's 2008 death

PHOENIX -- A Mesa woman who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2008 death of her young niece has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Maricopa County prosecutors said 34-year-old Latisha L. Breckenridge was sentenced Tuesday.

She was arrested by Mesa police in April 2008 on suspicion of second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of 3-year-old Juliana Ruiz.

Police said Breckenridge originally told investigators the girl fell off a recliner and stopped breathing on March 19, 2008.

The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The county Medical Examiner's Office said an autopsy showed the child's death wasn't caused by the fall described by Breckenridge.

Police interviewed Breckenridge again and said she admitted to getting angry with the girl and grabbing, pushing and tossing her.

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