LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A woman convicted of beating her son is no longer in prison. The I-Team has been following the story of “Baby Joel” and his adoptive mother for a while.
Joel Cheney, Baby Joel as he is lovingly called, was once a healthy baby, but the first time he was beaten he was an infant.
His now-deceased father was convicted and went to prison for the brutal act.
After the incident, Joel was placed back with his mother, and the second time he was beaten, he was a toddler. However, this time, Joel almost died.
“I’m thinking what could he have done to make you get to the point where you would just beat him to a pulp,” said Paula Cheney, Joel’s adoptive mother.
Joel’s biological mother, now-39-year-old Alicia Corte, was sent to prison.
Cheney was a foster parent to Joel the first time he was hurt and helped nurse him to recovery. The second time, she adopted him.
“He’s two. What could he have done? He’s defenseless. What could he have done,” Cheney asked. “So that’s where the hurt comes in.”
In March, Joel’s mother was up for parole. Cheney brought Joel to the hearing.
Nevada Parole Board member: “What was going on in your life at that time that allowed you to act out so violently toward your child?”
Alicia Corte, Joel’s mother: “I really don’t; I’ll tell you the truth. It was; it was so fast for when I did it and when I see it, it was already done.”
Corte apologized, but it seemed like it was directed more toward Cheney than to her child she severely harmed.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry; I know it’s not easy. I know it’s no more easy for her to forgive me,” Corte said. “I don’t understand what she feel and I can say I’m sorry.”
“A person that could do this kind of harm to a helpless 2-year-old; I would help to think that they would do to someone else,” Cheney said.
Four members of the parole board would make the decision.
“She doesn’t need to be out among other people where she would have an opportunity to do this to someone else again, so I plead with you,” Cheney begged.
But Cheney’s pleas to keep Corte in prison were ignored. Joel’s mother could have spent up to 15 years behind bars at Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center, but after eight years, the Nevada State Parole Board released her.
“This is your mandatory parole eligibility date at which time the biggest concern of the board is whether or not you are a danger to public safety or not,” one board member said.
Corte was released from prison, but according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an immigration judge ordered that she be removed from the United States on June 25.
An email from a spokeswoman, states:
“Alicia Corte-Flores, an illegal alien from Mexico with a final order of removal, was deported to her country of citizenship July 9.”
“Relevant DHS records indicate Ms. Corte-Flores came into ICE custody May 22, pursuant to a detainer placed on her Nov. 19, 2014, with the Florence McClure Women Correctional Center in North Las Vegas where she was serving a sentence for child neglect with substantial bodily harm, an aggravated felony.”
“An immigration judge with the Executive Office For Immigration Review ordered Ms. Corte-Flores removed June 25.”
But to Cheney, keeping her in prison may have protected another child from harm.
Before her release, Alicia Corte had been in trouble in prison for a tattoo. She told the parole board her tattoo is a woman’s last name; someone who’s been there for her. But there was just one problem: The risk of spreading hepatitis due to unsanitary conditions for something like a tattoo. That issue came up during the parole hearing, but again, Corte was still released.