A McLennan County jury sentenced Susan Herrera to 57 years behind bars for stealing nearly $580,000 from the Methodist Children's Home in Waco where she worked for nearly three decades. Herrera also has to pay back that money, along with a $10,000 fine.
Prosecutors are calling the crime one of the biggest tragedies in recent Waco history. Herrera's defense team hoped she'd get probation. The State wanted her to spend life behind bars, but they also suggested one year for every $10,000 stolen. That's the route the jury took.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Moody is happy with the outcome. He says, "Think about who she's stealing from. I mean, we have violent crimes that affect some people, but she's stealing from an organization that's sole purpose is to help children and families in need."
Herrera will be eligible for parole in about 15 years. There's no word yet on if this case will be appealed.
A jury has found a Waco woman guilty of stealing over $500,000 from the non-profit children's home she worked at for decades.
Closing arguments finished up Thursday morning in the trial for Susan Herrera, who the jury found guilty of stealing about $580,000 from the Methodist Children's Home in Waco, where she worked as controller, overseeing the accounting department.
The punishment phase is underway. Herrera faces probation, or up to life in prison.
Prosecutors called Herrera a deceptive thief who stole from orphans and underprivileged children. They say when Herrera was first confronted about the missing money, she said "I did it. Please don't send me to jail." As far as the state's concerned, that's a confession.
But the defense argued the missing cash was merely the result of sloppy accounting work, and there's no hard evidence that Herrera intentionally stole the money.