NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A woman was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for kidnapping a 4-day-old boy in Tennessee while claiming to be an immigration agent.
Tammy Silas of Ardmore, Ala., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell for her guilty plea in the 2009 kidnapping of Yair Anthony Carillo.
According to the plea agreement, Silas targeted Maria Gurrolla, a native Mexican, at a food assistance office and went to her home. Authorities say Silas, 39 at the time, stabbed the woman and snatched away the baby, who was found unharmed three days later at Silas' home in Alabama.
No ransom was ever requested, and Silas apparently just wanted a child, according to officials.
Silas told the court she would be unable to pay the more than $30,000 in restitution that the judge has ordered.
"I have had nothing ... never will," she said tearfully.
Gurrolla, who was 30 at the time, told the court on Monday that her family is still affected by the kidnapping. She said her three other children have struggled in school and have nightmares.
"It's impossible to put down on paper the suffering," said Gurrolla, whose statement in Spanish was translated into English by an interpreter. "But nothing compares to the happiness of having our son once again in our arms."
Gurrolla then asked the judge if she could address the defendant, telling her: "For all the harm you have done to me, for trying to take my life away ... I forgive you in the name of our lord Jesus Christ."
Gurrolla was hospitalized for a collapsed lung after being stabbed several times and beaten with fists and beer bottles. She still bears the scars of that attack, including a thin vertical line running down the ridge of her nose.
"The physical harm caused is permanent," she told the court.
When asked if she'd like to make a statement, Silas initially refused. But then she became visibly emotional after the discussion of the restitution. Prosecutors had said she should be able to pay restitution. But her attorney, Isaiah Gant, said Silas will be more than 60 years old when she is released and her chance of finding a stable job is unlikely.
"She will probably never be in a position to pay full restitution," Gant said.
Silas then asked to speak and rambled about the case being "all about money" and that she would pay what she could upon her release.
Campbell said the defendant's "ambiguous remarks" raised questions about her remorsefulness, and ordered her to pay restitution through an inmate program at the prison, and 10 percent of her monthly income toward the balance once she's out.
"This case is not about money, it's about kidnapping," the judge said.
Gurrola has said the boy is a happy 22-month-old who seems to bear no emotional scars from the trauma.
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