Baby sitter convicted in toddler's shaking death sentenced to 15 years in prison

A New Jersey baby sitter convicted of fatally shaking a toddler left in her care has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The Asbury Park Press ( ) reports that Michelle Heale was sentenced Friday in the 2012 death of 14-month-old Mason Hess.

The 46-year-old Toms River resident was convicted in April of aggravated manslaughter and child endangerment but acquitted of murder.

Hess told Superior Court Judge Francis Vernoia that she isn't a violent person and says she wouldn't have done anything differently. She contends she was trying to save the child from choking on applesauce.

Heale testified that the toddler went limp after she hit him between his shoulder blades. Doctors later determined the boy suffered severe brain, spine and retinal damage from a violent shaking.


Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press,