MURPHY, Idaho – A Homedale mother accused of killing her two-year-old daughter and burning up her body in a barrel to cover up the crime has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and five other felony charges. Owyhee County Prosecutor Doug Emery tells KTVB that 29-year-old Veronica Herrera has struck a deal with prosecutors.

They have agreed to reduce the first-degree murder charge to involuntary manslaughter in exchange for the guilty plea.  She was set to go on trial on May 14. Herrera also pleaded guilty to failure to properly report a death, destruction of evidence and three counts of injury to a child. Emery says two of those injury to a child counts were because Herrera forced siblings to participate in the burning of the body.

Prosecutors say two-year-old Nakita was abused, tortured and killed by her mother, who then burned the body for several days to cover up the crime. The body was discovered last August. Emery says Herrera faces a maximum of 40 years in prison for all six felonies.

She will likely have to serve at least 15 years.  It will be up to a judge to determine her punishment. Sentencing is set for July 25. Herrera has five other children and at last word they were staying with other family members. via