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Markea Berry's mother pleads guilty | Crime

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Markea Berry's mother pleads guilty
Crime, News
Markea Berry's mother pleads guilty

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- The mother of a Cobb County teenager who starved to death two years ago has pleaded guilty to her involvement in the girl's death.

Ebony Berry entered her plea in court Tuesday morning. She faced one count each of involuntary manslaughter, first-degree cruelty to children and second-degree cruelty to children in the death of her 16-year-old daughter Markea.

A judge sentenced Berry to 30 years in prison and 10 on probation. She will not be allowed to have any contact with children, and must undergo mental evaluations and treatment while on probation.

"I just want to apologize for everybody having to come out today for my situation and my circumstances involving my daughter," Berry told the court.

Before Berry entered her plea, prosecutors agreed to drop murder charges against her, saying they did not believe she intentionally killed Markea. Berry was charged with involuntary manslaughter because she never took Markea to a doctor, and waited about an hour to call 911 after finding her daughter unresponsive.

The defense argued that at the time of the teen's death, Berry was overwhelmed with raising three other children, including a newborn, and couldn't give Markea the care she needed. The other three children are now in the care of Berry's aunt in Michigan.

Defense attorneys also cited an entry in Markea Berry's diary. The teen wrote that she believed hunger was the way to salvation. Family members said Markea was never deprived of dinner; sometimes she ate with the family, and sometimes she did not.

Markea Berry weighed only 43 pounds when she died in June 2012.

RELATED | Markea Berry's family files wrongful death suit against DFCS

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