JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville Beach woman has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after she plead guilty to four counts of aggravated child neglect for selling her 6-year-old daughter to men in exchange for crack-cocaine.
Dalina Nicholas will only serve about 27 years of that sentence after time already served is added in. Several other men have already been convicted for child sexual abuse for engaging in sexual activity with Nicholas' daughter.
Assistant state attorney Alan Mizrahi prosecuted the case. He says he's satisfied with the sentence.
"I thought it was appropriate. Form the beginning of this case Ms. Nicholas was determined to be responsible for the sexual abuse of her daughter, so obviously a significant sentence should have been imposed by this court."
Mizrahi says listening to what the little girl and her brother had to go through on a daily basis with Nicholas was gut-wrenching but he does see one silver lining to this otherwise terrible story.
"I will say that this child's upbringing will be far better now than it would have been."
During the sentencing, Nicholas sat quietly next to her attorney, Gonzalo Andux, occasionally nodding in agreement with what was being said on the witness stand. First, a psychiatrist told the court that Nicholas had been sexually abused as a child and adult and that could have been a big reason why she began to develop mental issues. She was not ruled by the state to be insane or incompetent to stand trial.
Dalina's mother described her daughter as a loving, precious child who was always concerned about how others were doing. Her oldest daughter, Holly, read from a statement saying she struggles now knowing her mother will not be able to be present in her life for some time.
When it was finally her turn, Nicholas told the court and her family she was so sorry for everything she'd done and that she wasn't there to make excuses but to take responsibility for her actions.
"It was my fault. I was careles. I didn't know who I was letting in my house," she told the court through tears. "I'll never forgive myself."
Nicholas went on to say that during the time the crimes were committed, she was using crack-cocaine 24/7. The state said she was so addicted to the drug that she was unable to properly take care of her children.
"I've lost everything to this drug. Everything I've ever put my heart and soul into I've lost to this drug. I knew this was coming. I knew it."
After the sentence was handed down and court was adjourned, Nicholas looked back at her family in the gallery and said "It's alright" before being led away.
Mizrahi said during the hearing that although Nicholas had apologized for her actions and showed remorse, what she did to her family was "the definition of selfish" and that there are some things for which you just can't be forgiven.
The state recommended a sentence of no less than 25 years.
The 6-year-old girl and her brother, who lived with them at the Jacksonville Beach home where Nicholas would bring the strange men, have since been adopted by a family and are together.