A Fitchburg mother accused of stabbing her 6-year-old daughter was sentenced to 40 years of commitment to an institution Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court.
Judge Nicholas McNamara said Tasha Harmon, 30, will fulfill her "moral responsibility" by being committed and that her daughter will be able to recognize Harmon is getting help.
"If she knows you're working hard to be the best person you can be, that will make all the difference for her as she grows and becomes a young woman herself," the judge said.
Harmon was charged with attempted first-degree homicide. She pleaded not guilty but a judge said Harmon is not guilty due to mental disease or defect, and is not criminally responsible for the stabbing.
Prosecutors said Harmon stabbed her daughter seven times in the chest and back while the girl was sleeping at their Fitchburg apartment in August. She also stabbed herself.
Tasha Harmon spoke in court Wednesday.
“I hate what I did to her," Tasha Harmon said at the sentencing. "I'd give anything to tell her I’m sorry and to try and make it right."
Tasha Harmon's friend, Lisa Payne, was in court for support.
"Everything was about getting her mental illness in the best place it could be so she could be the best she could be to her daughter," Payne said.
Harmon told police voices in her head, including the devil, prompted the stabbings, according to a criminal complaint.
Harmon’s mother, Rita Harmon, acknowledged her daughter’s battle with mental illness and told the judge she hopes Tasha Harmon can get treatment.
"I only hope Tasha can get the mental help she needs so she will never hurt anyone again," Rita Harmon said.
Prosecutors recommended that Harmon be committed to an institution for 40 years, which is the same amount of time she would have spent in jail.
A relative caring for Tasha Harmon's daughter said the girl's wounds to her chest and back, including a punctured lung, have healed.
Tasha Harmon's lawyer said she can apply for release with conditions after being committed for a year.