RHINELANDER - Ellen Tran, 30, will spend the next 15 years in prison for her role in the death of toddler Avery Edwards near Rhinelander in 2017.
Judge Patrick O'Melia handed down that sentence Tuesday in Oneida Co. Court.
In October, a jury found Tran guilty of first-degree reckless homicide. Tran said Edwards, her stepson, slipped in the shower on the night he died. But prosecutors believe her abuse went much deeper.
In asking for the 40-year maximum sentence of imprisonment, Lori Edwards, Avery's mother, told Tran she hopes prison life is hard.
"You killed him. Your actions of abuse killed Avery," Edwards said.
While speaking before the court for more than an hour, Edwards described the central role her son played in her life. She spoke about his care under Tran through tears.
"She tormented him. She mistreated him. She taunted him. She abused him. She broke his spirit," Edwards said. "A child. A toddler. A 20-month-old baby. She despised him and she hated him."
Edwards shared custody with the boy's father, Trung Tran, who was married to Ellen Tran. The toddler died during a stay in Rhinelander with the Trans.
"I dropped him off for visitation, and he never came home. Well, his ashes did. I brought him home in a little box," Edwards said.
"I wish, I really wish...[you would have] just let Avery live with somebody that loved him. That's all," O'Melia said while sentencing Tran.
After the 15 years in prison, Tran will spend seven on extended supervision.
"[Avery Edwards] would have been safer if just left on somebody's doorstep," O'Melia said. "A stranger would have taken better care of Avery."
Oneida Co. District Attorney Michael Schiek showed videos and pictures of Avery, set to music, before asking for a prison sentence of 20 to 25 years.
Tran's defense attorney, Jonas Bednarek, suggested six years in prison.
Tran asked the judge to consider that her own children will be without a mother while she's in prison.
"Your Honor, I'm terribly saddened by the death of Avery. I pray that God be with his family. I'm truly sorry I wasn't able to do more to protect him," she said.
Tran said she accepted the sentence as part of God's plan.
Tran will be 45 when she's released from prison and 52 when she's off extended supervision.