, the woman who kidnapped baby Carlina White from Harlem Hospital in 1987 and raised her as her own, was sentenced to 12 years in prison today for her crimes—a bit short of the 20 years the government was looking for. "I am deeply sorry for what I have done," she said at her sentencing. "If they don’t accept it, it’s understandable. I’m here today to right my wrong."
“It should have been longer,” White's father, Carl Tyson, said afterwards. "I've been suffering for the past 23 years, I wanted to reach over there and really strangle her to be honest with that’s the way I felt...The judge didn’t have [any] sympathy. If this had happened to the judge, how would he feel. I would have been a little happier with the 240 months. I’m not too cool about it but what can I do.”
Or maybe he just didn't have the sympathy Tyson wanted. “This was not a crime of greed, or a crime of vengeance. But it was an act of selfishness," Manhattan judge Kevin Castel said today before adding that Pettway "inflicted a parent’s worst nightmare on a young couple, who were only concerned about the health of their baby."
In 1987 Pettway took the then infant White from Harlem Hospital where she had brought with a fever of 103°. Pettway than raised the girl as her own, but something never quite felt right the woman and she eventually figured out the truth on her own. Since then her relationship with her birth parents appears to have been strained. Pettway's defense lawyers have noted the young woman "has declined to speak with either defense counsel, the government or the probation department," adding that she "has a movie project in the works, and refuses to be involved in any way in the criminal case."
Asked about her daughter outside court today, Joy White said, "I love my daughter, and I want to be there for her. But it breaks my hearts listening to her speak about her ‘auntie’ or her ‘little brother,’ when in fact she is not talking about our family, but another family that has claimed her as their own...My daughter is here. But she is not home yet. Pray God, she will be soon."