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Sara Comeau cries as the jury reads the guilty verdict against Derick Epps. She is the mother of the child Epps violently shook causing permanent injuries.

HAVERHILL — Sara Comeau sobbed and hugged a friend as a jury found her ex-boyfriend Derick Epps guilty of violently shaking her 2-year-old daughter, causing permanent brain damage.

“I’m glad I got justice for my daughter,” Comeau, 26, said as she was leaving Salem Superior Court yesterday.

“They painted a picture that I was a bad mother and a horrible person. Maybe I wasn’t perfect, but I love my daughter and I did the best I could. I don’t care about what happened in the past. I’m just happy I got justice for Veronica.”

The jury was unanimous in its verdict against Epps, 30, who was charged with injuring Veronica, who is now 4, on Oct. 9, 2004. He was babysitting Veronica and her sister in the Haverhill home where he lived with Comeau.

He was scheduled to be sentenced today by Judge David Lowy. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Just as he had for most of the five-day trial, Epps sat stoically as the guilty verdict was announced. Court officers then shackled his wrists and ankles and led him out of the courtroom.

In a telephone interview soon after the verdict, Epps’ uncle, Julien Epps, accused Comeau of “putting on an act” for police, the district attorney and others in the courtroom. Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall had dropped accessory to child endangerment charges against Comeau in exchange for her testimony against Epps.

“She recently called my sister to apologize and tell her that she knows Derick would never hurt her kids,” Julian Epps claimed about Comeau. “She said she was sorry for testifying against Derick, but that she had no choice or they would take away her kids.”

Comeau was arrested in 2004 on child endangerment charges for allowing Epps to cause serious injury to her daughter. Prior to her deal with the district attorney, she had spent three days in Framingham women’s prison before making bail.

“My nephew himself told me six months ago that Sara told him she still loves him,” Julien Epps said yesterday. “All that carrying on in court was nothing but a show.”

Julien Epps, who attended most of the trial, also questioned the fairness of having an all-white jury to consider the charges against his nephew, who is black.

“I felt the trial was pretty fair except for that,” he said of the all-white jury that consisted of nine men and three women. “I don’t see how they could say, without a reasonable doubt, that Derick did it and not Sara. If it was close, I could see them saying the black guy did it, even if it was in the back of their mind.”

Epps’ lawyer, public defender Lawrence McGuire, argued that Sara had shaken Veronica, not Epps.

Epps had claimed that the child had fallen down several times during the day.

Outside the courthouse after the verdict was returned, McGuire refused to comment, just as he had throughout the trial. Two jurors walking to their automobiles also declined to comment.

According to testimony in court, a portion of the girl’s brain has “died off” and cannot be restored. Dr. Celeste Wilson, a Children’s Hospital pediatrician, had told the court that the force used to injure Veronica was equal to that of being in a high-speed car accident or falling 70 feet.

Wilson, associate director of the Boston hospital’s child protection program, said the injuries included acute swelling of the brain and bleeding in the brain and eyes.

Comeau, who now lives in Methuen, testified her daughter is unable to walk or eat on her own. Veronica, who along with her 6-year-old sister, Delilah, lives with Comeau’s mother, also has limited vision and is only able to repeat words said to her, Sara Comeau said.

Veronica and her sister were taken by Social Services when Comeau was charged with allowing Epps to assault Veronica. In court, Comeau testified she is in state-mandated counseling and in the process of regaining custody of her daughters.

Epps has been held at the Middleton jail on $50,000 cash bail since he was arrested 33 months ago.

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