POLK COUNTY, Iowa — A Johnston daycare provider originally charged with child endangerment in the 2019 death of a toddler in her care has been sentenced to prison.
Trina Mazza appeared in a Polk County courtroom Wednesday morning to face sentencing after pleading guilty to a lesser charge in the case in October. Judge Scott Rosenberg sentenced Mazza to up to 10 years in prison.
Mazza’s attorney had been seeking a deferred judgment and probation for his client, citing her lack of a criminal record and her low chance of re-offending.
Judge Rosenberg, however, called Mazza “neglectful to the extreme” prior to handing down his sentence. He said six kids were in her care at the time of the incident and that even for an experienced daycare provider, that was too many. He also admonished her actions just after the incident, when she called her husband prior to calling 911 to seek help for the child.
Mazza was originally charged with child endangerment causing death and operating an unlicensed daycare in the February 2019 death of 17-month-old Tucker Schneider.
Mazza had been caring for the child in her in-home daycare when he became wedged upside down between two “pack and play” bassinets. Schneider was found unresponsive and he died a few days after the incident on February 17, 2019. Accidental traumatic asphyxia was determined to be his cause of death.
As part of the plea deal, the Polk County Attorney’s Office amended the charges to neglect of a dependant person in October. The charge of operating an unlicensed daycare was also dropped.
A wrongful death civil lawsuit filed against Mazza by Schneider’s parents is still pending.