Atascadero woman pleads no contest in daughter's death

An Atascadero woman pleaded no contest to charges that are expected to result in a sentence of 20 years and 8 months in prison for her role in the death of her 20-month-old baby, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Arianne Brito is married to Fermin Palacios, who was convicted in September of beating their baby, Natalia Brito, to death in June 2007. He was sentenced to 31 years to life in November.

Brito pleaded no contest Dec. 18 to several counts of child endangerment with the enhanced penalty of an injury resulting in death, and voluntary manslaughter. The DA’s Office dismissed charges of murder and assault of a child under 8 resulting in death.

She is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22.

According to Atascadero Police Department officials, Brito was with the baby after Palacios struck Natalia Brito in the chest and she later took the child to the hospital. Brito failed to report Palacios’ abuse of the baby over several months, including at the time of her death, police said.

--Nick Wilson