Crime - Sacto 911

Mom gets 25 to life for murder, torture of 3-year-old left in hot car in Rancho Cordova

Angela Phakhin is arraigned on murder charge in daughter’s death

The Arkansas couple arrested along the American River Parkway in Rancho Cordova when police discovered the body of the woman's 3-year-old daughter in their sport utility vehicle were formally arraigned on murder charges in 2017 in the girl's death.
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The Arkansas couple arrested along the American River Parkway in Rancho Cordova when police discovered the body of the woman's 3-year-old daughter in their sport utility vehicle were formally arraigned on murder charges in 2017 in the girl's death.

An Arkansas woman has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, convicted last month of the murder of her 3-year-old daughter, who was found dead by Rancho Cordova police in the back seat of an SUV in 2017.

Angela Phakhin, 29, was sentenced Friday by Judge Allen Summer. Phakhin was found guilty of murder by jury June 25. The jury also unanimously found her guilty of premeditated murder and felony torture in the June 2017 death of her daughter, Maiya, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.

Phakhin and her fiancé, Untwan Smith, reportedly came with Maiya to the Sacramento area from Arkansas.

On June 28, 2017, Rancho Cordova police officers discovered the couple’s vehicle parked the wrong way on Rod Beaudry Drive near River Bend Park, The Sacramento Bee reported at the time.

The DA’s news release says that Phakhin and Smith exposed Maiya to “extreme summer temperatures” over a two-week span in June 2017. Maiya died after being left in a hot car for 9 1/2 hours; the previous day, she had been left in the car for 4 1/2 hours, the news release said.

Phakhin told law enforcement she left her daughter in the hot vehicle “to remove the lustful demons from Maiya,” the DA’s news release said. Phakhin also reportedly ignored repeated warnings to take her daughter to a cooling shelter.

Smith awaits trial for the same charges of murder and felony murder torture.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.
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