EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 8, 2012

Woman sentenced in hot oil attack


Police arriving in response to a 911 call could hear her screams, and her own young children were present and also saw their mother’s suffering, said the prosecutor.

Mejia was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with burns over 20 percent of her body. She underwent skin grafts and a painful recovery, but remains scarred, said the prosecutor.

“This has affected me in a lot of ways,” Mejia told the judge during a victim-impact statement yesterday. “Now I have flashbacks. I hardly sleep. My kids are in counseling.”

“I don’t think it was necessary in front of the children,” she added.

Medina, who has no prior record, begged her forgiveness when it was her turn to speak.

“I didn’t want to hurt anybody,” said Medina. “It was a mistake. I’ve never been a bad person. I got there, I never thought she was going to be there. That was my home for seven years.”

Serrano told police that Mejia, the younger woman, was just a friend who had come to help him pack for a trip, according to police.

Buxton said that Medina, a mother of children, should have known how traumatic it would be to all of the children present that morning in the Summer Street apartment.

Her actions near a hot pan of oil, said the prosecutor, were as reckless as firing a gun or throwing a knife.

And the victim is left with lifelong reminders of what happened to her. “She has to look in the mirror each day,” said Buxton, who had urged Lowy to impose a 21/2 year sentence.

Barker, the defense lawyer, said her client admits that her actions that day were reckless, and “a really stupid, thoughtless act.”

It’s one that will cost her not only a year of her life, to be spent at MCI Framingham, to be followed by two years of probation, but her likely deportation to the Dominican Republic after her release. While she is a legal resident of the United States, her conviction on a felony charge can trigger deportation proceedings.

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