MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT — The parents of 19-day-old infant who was snatched during an overnight stay at Harlem Hospital in 1987 believe justice will not be served following the kidnapper's guilty plea Friday.
Joy White and Carl Tyson, whose now-24-year-old daughter Carlina White lived under a different name her entire life and was raised by her abductor, Ann Petway, do not believe a promised 10- to 12-year sentence for their daughter's kidnapper is sufficient punishment.
But that is what federal prosecutors agreed to in the case of Pettway, 51, who pleaded guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan after working out a plea deal with prosecutors.
After the hearing, both parents said that a decade in prison is not enough punishment for Pettway, who faced up to life in prison on the kidnapping charge.
"I think she should serve at least 23 years," White said, adding that the promised sentence is "not enough for me" considering her years of pain and suffering, and decades of a relationship lost with her child.
White was also upset because the deal was made after she explicitly told the U.S. Attorney's office she did not agree with the 10-year offer, she said.
"'No' — that was my final answer," a tearful White told reporters about the deal. "My say so didn't have anything to do with it."
Tyson also conveyed his disapproval and agreed Pettway should do one year for each of the "23 years she took from us," he said.
In court, Pettway made a brief statement admitting she took the child more than two decades ago, beginning with her train ride to Harlem on Aug. 4, 1987.
"I took a child. I left, got back on the train," Pettway calmly said. "I went back home and raised her as my own, which I knew was wrong."
She appeared in court on Friday wearing a blue prison scrubs and canvas sneakers, her hair unkempt. She did not make eye contact with the birth parents, who were all seated with other family members just feet away from the defendant's chair.
Pettway is scheduled to be sentenced on May 14. The judge could still sentence her to more time in prison than what has been suggested through the plea agreement.
"She knew what she was doing, and she preyed on me," added White, who was a teenager when she gave birth.
The U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment on the deal.