By JAMIE STENGLE
DALLAS (AP) -- A Dallas mother who admitted to beating her toddler and gluing the child's hands to a wall says she's not a monster and can change.
Elizabeth Escalona took the stand Wednesday at a sentencing hearing after she pleaded guilty in July to felony injury to a child. Police say the 23-year-old mother lost her temper last year with her then-2-year-old daughter, Jocelyn Cedillo, over potty training problems.
Escalona and kicked Jocelyn before sticking her hands to an apartment wall using an adhesive commonly known as Super Glue.
The child suffered bleeding in her brain, a fractured rib, multiple bruises and bite marks, and was in a coma for a couple of days. Some skin had been torn off her hands, where doctors also found glue residue and white paint chips from the apartment wall.
Escalona said Wednesday she would never forgive herself. But she added, "I want everybody to know I'm not a monster. I love my kids."
Escalona's mother and sister have asked for leniency.
"I wanted an explanation," Margaret Escalona said Wednesday. "I wanted to know what happened. I wanted to beat my sister up."
Prosecutors are seeking a 45-year sentence, Margaret Escalona said a long prison term wasn't the answer, saying her sister "needs help."
"Her being taken away won't help any," she said.
Counselor Melanie Davis also testified Wednesday that she believes from the conversations she has had with Elizabeth Escalona that the mother loves her five children, one of whom was born after the attack. Davis said she has been counseling Escalona since June, nine months after her arrest.
Escalona has set herself the short-term goal of finding a job and the long-term aim of getting her kids back, Davis testified, adding that the young woman "is need of further counseling services."
Escalona's mother, Ofelia Escalona, testified this week that her daughter is "not a monster" and that she deserves probation. She insisted her daughter could be "fixed."
Prosecutors have played recordings in which a teenage Elizabeth Escalona threatened to kill her mother. They said she was a former gang member who started smoking marijuana at age 11.
The grandmother now takes care of the five children, including Jocelyn, who has recovered.
The sentencing hearing will continue Thursday.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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