A Sacramento woman who tortured her incarcerated fiance's 12-year-old daughter with staples, hot irons and electrical cords was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.
Duewa Abeana Lee, 37, was convicted in July of torture and other felony counts related to a period of abuse in 2011 that ended when the victim asked a stranger at the Department of Motor Vehicles for help.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan said during the sentencing hearing that "there are no words, really" to describe what she called “horrific, unspeakable abuse” and the “relentless cruelty” the girl suffered, the Sacramento Bee reported.
In addition to being whipped with electrical cords, burned with an iron and stapled in the ear, the girl -- now 14 -- was thrown down the stairs and kicked in the stomach.
Because of the abuse, the girl suffered life-threatening injuries and now has to deal with some permanent disfigurement, Fox 40 reported.
Even so, at the sentencing hearing, the girl stood in the courtroom to address her abuser.
“I’ve moved on from the past and look forward to the future,” the girl told Lee, according to the Sacramento Bee. “I now live with people that love me and have made me to the point where I can forgive you, but I will never forget the things you did to me.”
It was her speaking up to a stranger at the DMV that set the legal action into motion.
The girl had been enduring the abuse for months after her father was imprisoned on a robbery conviction. While at the DMV, Lee left the girl unattended for a brief moment, during which the girl turned to a stranger and asked for help, Fox 40 reported.
DMV clerks then called police, who arrived at the scene to investigate.
Despite Lee's pleas for leniency after insisting she was innocent, the judge sentenced her to life behind bars for the torture conviction, plus another nine years and four months for other counts related to the abuses, the Bee reported.