A 47 year old father from Northern California was handed an 11-year prison sentence for the 2016 drowning of his four-year old daughter in the baptismal pool of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Healdsburg.

According to authorities, Gerardo Mendoza had been smoking methamphetamine for 72 hours when he started to believe that his two youngest children were "being attacked by evil." According to NBC Los Angeles, Mendoza then took the two children to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, located in the Healdsburg wine city country on November 20, 2016.

Once there, he desperately tried to find a priest but could not, so he led his four-year old daughter Maria and nine-year old son into a cross-shaped baptismal pool that is at least a foot deep, court documents showed.

Later, Mendoza carried his daughter's body to a nearby police station and stood naked in the station's back parking lot, screaming for "help" and "police" in Spanish as he held his fully clothed and soaked daughter. He was accompanied by his son, who was wearing only shorts. Maria was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

ABC News reported in September that Mendoza pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter charges in the drowning of his daughter. At the time, he faced a potential 25 years to life sentence if convicted. A no-contest plea such as Mendoza's is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such by the judge during sentencing. Mendoza's plea deal results in an 11 year prison term, which sentence was handed down on October 15.

According to Church Leaders, Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert LaForge informed Mendoza, a day laborer and farmworker who moved with his family from Sacramento to Healdsburg for work about six months before the drowning, that the statements the father had made to probation officers before Wednesday's hearing were objectionable.

"Certainly, I'm going to give you the maximum allowed by law based on what I read," Judge LaForge said. "There were a couple things that were concerning. Your statement was concerning, minimizing. I want you to know that."

Judge LaForge referred to Mendoza's comments to a probation officer, who prepared the pre-sentencing report and recommendation to court. Mendoza said at the time that he merely gave his daughter water from the baptismal pool but never submerged her.

Similar case

Similarly in April this year, a California woman admitted to killing her three children in order to "protect" them from a lifetime of supposed sexual abuse at the hands of their father. According to ABC News, Liliana Carrillo of California had drowned her three-year old daughter Joanna, two year old son Terry, and six month old baby Sierra because she wanted to "protect" them from her ex-boyfriend and their father, Erik Denton, who she believed was part of a sex trafficking ring that allegedly ran rampant in Porterville in central California, where the family lived until the end of February.

"I drowned them," Carrillo admitted during an interview inside a Kern County Jail. "I did it as softly, I don't know how to explain it, but I hugged them and I kissed them and I was apologizing the whole time. I loved my kids."

The three children were found dead by their maternal grandmother in their apartment in Los Angeles. Carrillo was subsequently arrested in Tulare County. She admitted that she was "going to be in jail for the rest of my life. It's something I've come to terms with."