Beaufort woman sentenced to 30 years for attempted murder of dau - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort woman sentenced to 30 years for attempted murder of daughter


A Beaufort woman was found guilty on Wednesday of trying to murder her three-year-old daughter.

A judge sentenced 24-year-old Shayla Brown to 30 years in prison for stabbing and beating her daughter, then throwing her off a third-floor balcony in December 2011.

Bryan admitted to stabbing, beating and trying to kill her daughter. Her defense? The devil made her do it. That is what Bryan told police in a videotaped confession played in court.

She first made up a story about a stranger invading her home, and then blamed a new boyfriend.

Bryan eventually confessed, but then told police she heard voices. "The devil came over me," she said.

Her attorneys argued she wasn't sane when she committed the crime. Psychiatrists testified that Bryan had been diagnosed with unspecified psychosis after the attack.

But the issue before court, and the issue at the heart of an insanity defense, was did Bryan know right from wrong when she tried to kill her daughter?

The prosecution pointed out that if Bryan tried to cover up the crime, she knew what she was doing.

"When she was confronted by law enforcement, she lied about what she did," said 14th Court Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone. "And she kept making stories and continuously trying to avoid being found out. It is literally a miracle that the child survided. She received a 30 year sentence, and she deserves every bit of it."

Bryan's daughter, Dionna Haygood, is now five years old. She lives with Bryan's parents, who took the stand on Tuesday to say Bryan has recovered from her psychosis and should be reunited with Dionna, whom they claim misses her mother.

Bryan's family said Haygood still walks with a limp, but hoas otherwise made a full recovery.

Bryan is behind bars, where she is to remain until she is 54 years old.

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