Court heard Simons put the girl in the seat that was too small, buckled the chest strap and left her in the dark closet for more than five hours.
Simons then left the home to run errands. Her visiting brother was at the house, but she didn’t tell him that Ceira was upstairs.
“To then place this child in a darkened and isolated closet in an upstairs bedroom in this home and leave her there unattended for five hours was not only criminally negligent — it was cruel and indifferent,” said Justice Jim Ogle, during sentencing Tuesday.
Ogle said Simons’s level of moral blameworthiness was very high.
“In my view, in the circumstances of this case, her position of trust for this child was at least equal to that of a parent. She had been entrusted by these parents to take care of Ceira,” said Ogle.
“The court can only conclude the actions that ultimately caused the death of Ceira were considered and deliberate and without any excuse whatsoever. They were in every sense of the word cruel and callous.”
Simons looked down at the floor during the sentencing. She looked out and waved to her five sons who were sitting in the front row.
Ogle said Simons was “deceptive” after she discovered Ceira’s death and only started to show remorse when she entered a plea of guilty.
Ryan McGrath, Ceira’s father, spoke to reporters after the sentencing.
“I guess with what was proposed we are somewhat satisfied by the outcome today,” he said. “We are glad this is over. We do hope we can start to move forward now and we’re glad she’s gone away.”
McGrath said Ceira missed her fourth birthday party with her brother Colby this past week.
“Just a beautiful little girl full of so much life who had so much fun with her brother,” he said.
“She was a perfect little girl.”