A Turlock woman convicted in the death of her special needs child has been found unsuitable for parole and will remain in prison for at least another three years, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office reported.
Brandy Lee Rose Devine, 36, was found guilty in 2013 of second-degree murder for the death of her daughter, 2-year-old Stephanie Torres. She also was found guilty by the Stanislaus County jury of a felony charge of willful cruelty to a child causing great bodily injury and/or death and a misdemeanor charge of using a controlled substance. She was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Stephanie was put into her crib on the afternoon of July 13, 2012, and was found dead on the afternoon of July 16, 2012. During that time, she was kept in a filthy room with several cats and was not given any medicine, food or water for three days.
During the trial, the medical examiner testified that Stephanie died of acute dehydration and malnutrition.
During her interview with police detectives, Devine said she was feeling ill that weekend and didn’t really know why she never checked on Stephanie, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She said she thought her oldest daughter, who was 6 years at the time, was taking care of the 2-year-old. Devine did feed her other three children, who were seven months, four and six years old.
In the same interview Devine initially refused to believe Stephanie died from lack of food and water and tried to tell the detective she was probably suffocated by the cats.
Devine admitted that she smoked methamphetamine the night before Stephanie was found deceased.
Finally on July 16, 2012, Devine checked on her daughter and found her dead in the crib. A law enforcement investigation found the baby’s clothes were soiled from urine and feces and her diaper contained maggots. Although almost three years old, the child weighed only 14 pounds.
In the parole hearing the district attorney’s office argued for continued confinement based on the danger Devine represents to the community should she be released given the callous circumstances of her crime, and her lack of insight into what caused her to intentionally put her two-year old baby in a room to die.
A prison psychologist who interviewed Devine gave the opinion she represented a low risk for future violence in the community if she were to be paroled. The State Board of Parole noted Devine had received only one rules violation during her time in prison for fighting with another inmate in 2015 and had actively participated in programming such as a substance abuse, AA/NA, anger management, vocational training, and college courses. The Board felt Devine expressed remorse and had a release plan which included transitional housing, family support and employment.
After deliberations, the Board determined that although Devine qualified for “youthful offender parole” consideration, because she was 25 years old at the time of the offense, she still posed an unreasonable risk to public safety and denied parole for three years. The Board felt she lacked insight and had not adequately internalized her programming regarding her motivation behind locking only one of her children in a room with animals for three days. They felt she needed more programming in denial management, and she needed to develop a relapse prevention plan for child abuse and neglect.
This was Devine’s second parole hearing. She will be scheduled for another hearing in 2026, although she may petition the Board for an earlier date if there is a change in circumstances as defined under current law. Devine has been in prison for approximately nine years.