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Mother gets 6 years in prison for stabbing 3-year-old son

Mother gets 6 years in prison for stabbing 3-year-old son
Michelle Betancourt, 23,shown at her arraignment on June 23, 2015. Betancourt was sentenced Tuesday to six years in state prison. (KTLA-TV)

A woman was sentenced to six years in prison on Tuesday for stabbing her 3-year-old son with a kitchen knife during a domestic dispute with the child's father.

A judge in a Norwalk courtroom sentenced Michelle Betancourt, 23, after she pleaded no contest to one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

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As part of the plea deal, a second assault with a deadly weapon charge against her was dismissed, Deputy Dist. Atty. Efrain Matthew Aceves told The Times.

Betancourt also admitted to personally inflicting great bodily injury while committing the crime, he said.

On the night of May 18, 2015, Betancourt threw a kitchen knife toward the child's father during a heated dispute between the couple at their Cudahy home.

"She's trying to throw [the knife] at him and it ends up hitting the child," Aceves said.

Neighbors in the 3800 block of Walnut Street said they heard screams and terrifying shrieks and a woman yelling something about "a lot of blood."

The child's father and Betancourt were seen clutching the bleeding, wounded boy as they ran down the driveway.

Yvette Argueta said the father told her that the young boy had stabbed himself,  but detectives said that narrative of events was not true.

The boy suffered severe injuries, and detectives said at the time that he was not expected to survive.

The toddler has since recovered from his physical injuries. His grandparents even brought him to one of his mother's previous court appearances, Aceves said.

Shortly after the stabbing, Betancourt was arrested and charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Under those charges, she would have faced a maximum of 11 years in prison.

Prosecutors reviewed the case "seriously and thoroughly" but ultimately decided they could not file attempted murder charges, Aceves said.

The mother's plea deal was a "very good" resolution for a case, especially so early in the case's proceedings, he added.

"It was a tragedy that took place -- but it was also a crime," Aceves said. "It was a strong punishment."

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An attorney for Bettancourt could not be reached for comment.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.

Times staff writers Joseph Serna and Vernoica Rocha contributed to this report.

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