ALGONA - Heidi Watkins was sentenced Thursday to an indeterminate prison term of up to 50 years, bringing to a close a lengthy court process that attempted to lay blame in the death of Watkins' daughter, Shelby Duis.
District Judge Joseph Straub said Watkins had committed "the most heinous crime" by allowing her daughter to be abused.
Even the most primitive forms of life zealously protect their offspring, he said, and allowing abuse is the most basic form of human betrayal.
"The very nature of this crime cries out for confinement," Straub said during the sentencing hearing. "Society is appalled when a parent betrays his or her child."
Shelby's battered body was found in her home Jan. 4. An autopsy found a history of broken bones and severe abuse.
"The evidence in this case shows that instead of zealously protecting Shelby, you chose to sacrifice her on an altar of illicit sex and illegal drugs," he told Watkins. "You voluntarily traded the life of your child for a few months of companionship with Jesse Wendelsdorf."
Read the rest of this article in the 12/30 Pilot Tribune.