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Conviction overturned in Paulding County drowning case | Crime

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Conviction overturned in Paulding County drowning case
Crime, News
Conviction overturned in Paulding County drowning case

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. -- The Supreme Court of Georgia has overturned the child cruelty convictions given to a Paulding County grandmother who was arrested after two young girls drowned while in her care.

Marta Sonia Corvi was charged with two counts each of reckless conduct and second-degree cruelty to children after her granddaughter and a friend drowned in a backyard pool. Both victims were 5 years old.

The drownings happened June 10, 2012, while Corvi was living with her employers, Eduardo and Sandra Juarez, in their Dallas home. According to court documents, Corvi cooked, cleaned, did laundry and watched the three Juarez children, including one victim, Sophia.

On the morning of the incident, Corvi's granddaughter, Mia Penoyer, visited the Juarez house to play with Sophia. The girls were told they could not swim in the family pool, but sneaked out the back door to do so while Eduardo and Sandra ran errands and Corvi made a personal phone call.

The Juarez family's 10-year-old son found the girls in the pool; Sophia was floating face down, while Mia was on the bottom, according to court documents. Eduardo Juarez tried to resuscitate the girls before emergency crews arrived, but both victims were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

In court, the lead investigator in the case testified that Corvi spent 45 minutes on the phone with a man she met on the internet, leaving the victims unsupervised long enough to drown. She was sentenced to 20 years, with one to serve in jail, and was deported to her native Uruguay.

Corvi's attorney appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia. The high court sided with Corvi and threw out her conviction Monday.

A state Supreme Court justice wrote that prosecutors failed to prove Corvi was criminally negligent. In fact, she told Mia and Sophia to stay upstairs and play dress-up, and the girls disobeyed her by getting in the pool.

Monday's decision also stated that there was no proof Corvi was on the phone for 45 minutes, and "the length of time appellant was on her phone call would (not) have made a difference in the children's deaths."

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