OAKLAND -- A woman with a history of child abuse, who suffocated her 2-year-old daughter to death two years ago, will be sent to prison for 15 years to life after agreeing to a plea deal this week in which she was found guilty of second-degree murder.
Tiffany Lopez, 21, was charged with murder in March 2010 for killing her daughter, Kamilah Russell, at an apartment she shared with Kamilah's father, Joseph Russell Jr., in the 2800 block of High Street.
Lopez initially told police that the killing was an accident that occurred after she sat on her child during a game of hide-and-seek. Lopez said she didn't realize her daughter was hiding under a couch cushion, and she accidentally sat on her.
Lopez told a similar story to family members after the incident, but during an interrogation by police, she changed her story and admitted that she suffocated Kamilah by pinching her nose, police have said.
Kamilah was rushed to Children's Hospital Oakland on March 9, 2010, after Lopez called 911 reporting that her daughter was not breathing. She was pronounced dead about an hour after the 911 call.
At the time of the killing, family members said Lopez suffered from a "chemical imbalance" that caused her to act irrationally at times. About three months before she killed Kamilah, Lopez was arrested and charged by San Mateo prosecutors with two counts of misdemeanor child endangerment for beating her younger brother for drinking a can of
Lopez, who was pregnant at the time of her arrest, also had a 7-month-old baby when she killed Kamilah. That baby was initially placed in state custody but later returned to the custody of Joseph Russell.
At the time of his daughter's death, Russell said his heart was broken.
"It's making me die deep inside that my daughter is gone," he said. "She took my daughter from me."
Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22.
Alameda County District Attorney Teresa Drenick declined to comment on the plea deal.
Lindsay Horstman, an assistant public defender, could not be reached for comment.