FLORENCE — A Maricopa mother who pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse was not sentenced Monday after character witnesses did not appear in court.

Erin Darr, 36, was scheduled to be sentenced at Pinal County Superior Court by Judge Christopher O’Neil, but when character witnesses did not show, the defense asked for a 30-day continuance.

O’Neil was perturbed by the request, saying he had more than enough evidence to move forward with or without people speaking on Darr’s behalf.

“I have spent hours reviewing materials for today’s hearing,” said O’Neil, adding that included several letters written by people speaking to Darr’s character.

Ultimately, O’Neil agreed to a compromise. Instead of granting the defense’s request to move the sentencing into January, he set a sentencing hearing for Dec. 18 at 3 p.m.

That hearing date was in accordance with a request from the prosecution, which asked if the date were to be continued that it be sometime before the end of the calendar year.

Darr’s defense attorney said he wanted “people to understand who she is” before a sentence was rendered. He said that couldn’t be achieved unless her character witnesses were allowed to speak.

Darr, accused of forcing a child to eat vomit, was initially charged with 10 counts of child abuse and was arrested last December. Her trial was scheduled to begin Nov. 5.

Court records show Darr pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse Sept. 18.

The victim, who was 11 years old, accused Darr of repeatedly hitting and scratching her.

Darr allegedly pulled the girl by her hair, hit her over the head with a phone and forced her to eat rotten food. When the girl would regurgitate the food, she said Darr forced her to eat her own vomit. An older sibling corroborated the victim’s account to the Maricopa Police Department.

{span}For one child abuse charge, a Class 4 felony, Darr faces supervised probation, which could last the rest of her life. If she rejects probation, she will serve 3.75 years in prison. For the second charge, a Class 3 felony, Darr faces between 3.5 and 7.5 years in prison, to run consecutive to the first charge.{/span}

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Brian Wright is the sports editor at PinalCentral. He can be reached at bwright@pinalcentral.com.

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