KIOWA, Colo. - The mother, grandmother and great grandmother of a 5-month-old Elizabeth girl, who died after suffering massive brain trauma at the hands of her father, pleaded with a judge for the maximum sentence.
Judge Jeffrey K. Holmes sentenced 27-year-old Richard Dolin to 26 years behind bars.
Dolin had earlier pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.
On Tuesday, Dolin apologized for his role in his daughter’s death.
"I'm sorry for what I did to my daughter," he said. "I'm sorry for what happened to her…If I didn't hurt her, she would still be here today."
Dolin’s attorney said her client didn't intend to harm the infant and that it was an accident.
"He left her alone on a couch," she said. "When he came back, he found she had fallen on the concrete floor."
Marlayna Dolin, then 4-months-old, was hospitalized in March of 2012, after authorities were called to the Dolin's home on a report of a baby having seizures.
Friends told 7NEWS that doctors at Children's Hospital placed the infant in an induced coma three times to give her a break from the seizures.
She died April 1, 2012.
Dolin initially tried to place the blame for the baby’s injuries on another child, but eventually told authorities that he shook her in an attempt to revive her after the fall.
Prosecutors say that explanation is "insulting to science and insulting to an infant child."
"Her injuries were significant," said Chris Gallo, Senior Deputy District Attorney. "In cases involving inflicted trauma on a child, these are injuries that we would normally see -- fractured ribs, massive brain trauma -- things like that. Things that are not necessarily associated with the bumps and tumbles a child normally takes."
Elbert County District Attorney George Brauchler was more pointed in his comments.
"There is no place in our society for a parent who kills their own child," Brauchler said. "The years this 'man’ will spend in prison are meaningless when compared to the years he stole from the most vulnerable, the most defenseless, the most innocent life in our community. May the image of her sweet face never leave his mind."
The infant's grandmother, Michelle Prokop, told the court that "Daddys are supposed to protect little girls, not kill them."
Jamie Dolin believes her infant daughter was "viciously murdered and abused."
"It's excruciating for me to think about the pain that she went through," Jamie Dolin said. "But I have to cherish the memories that I have of her and I have to stay strong for my son, Landon."
Landon is Richard's biological son, but not Jamie's.
Attorneys say Richard Dolin gave up his parental rights and now Jamie is in the process of adopting him.
A video tribute to Marlayna included several pictures of Landon holding his sister and smiling at the camera.
Jamie Dolin said Landon was a good brother to Marlayna.
The judge could have sentenced Richard Dolin to 32 years.
When asked about the Judge's 26 year sentence, Jamie Dolin replied, "Today was more about closure rather than sentencing. We are glad this process has come to an end and are excited to share Marlayna's story with others."