Police said the boy had numerous serious injuries. He was hospitalized after vomiting and having a five-minute seizure.
Doctors found multiple broken ribs and other bones in various states of healing, as well as a lacerated liver, bruising and a punctured lung. The boy had a bite mark on his left leg, prosecutors said in court papers.
Eyvette Carbajal, the child's mother, had placed her son in the care of Gabriel and Elsa Solis and made them legal guardians before she left the base in Hawaii where she and Gabriel Solis had been stationed, police said.
Carbajal, 23, is stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Wash., where she works as police officer. She said her son, who is almost 3, is “doing fantastic” and shows no lingering physical effects from his injuries.
She said she and the couple once did everything together, often walking into each other homes without knocking.
“We were that comfortable with each other, which makes her betrayal even more devastating,” Carbajal said.
Elsa Solis testified that her ex-husband verbally and physically abused her during their marriage, saying she was psychologically damaged as a result.
Elsa Solis' attorneys asked the judge for mercy, saying she took responsibility by entering a guilty plea in September.
“She's shown remorse for this,” attorney Johnny Lombardi said.
The defendant apologized to Carbajal, saying she was sorry she couldn't protect her son.
“I couldn't do it,” she said. “I tried really hard.”
Prosecutors saw it differently.
“This mother trusted her with her most prized possession — her son,” Assistant District Attorney Pamela Stillings told the judge. “She didn't stand up for little Nicholas, who couldn't stand up for himself.”