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No bail for LI mom charged in girl's death

At left, Julie Cirella, 8, in an undated

At left, Julie Cirella, 8, in an undated photo. At right, where Julie was found dead at a house in Plainview. (July 23, 2011) Credit: Handout / Peter Walden Sr.

A Plainview woman fed her disabled 8-year-old daughter food to which she was allergic, then tried to kill herself and left a note saying "her daughter should die," a Nassau prosecutor said Sunday at the woman's arraignment on a manslaughter charge.

The judge at the arraignment ordered that the woman, Veronica Cirella, 30, be jailed without bail.

The daughter, Julie Cirella, was preparing to be a flower girl in her cousin's wedding, but was found dead inside the family home hours before the Saturday ceremony.

Her mother was lying nearby with a cord around her neck.

"There is language that asserts an intention to kill," prosecutor Zeena J. Abdi said of what police found when they searched the home at 21 Shelley Ct., where Cirella lived with Julie.

Abdi did not say whether authorities know what food Cirella fed her daughter, and police declined to comment.

The felony count against Cirella, second-degree manslaughter, charges that she failed to take the medical steps necessary to save Julie.

"There was a certain protocol that should have been followed as far as giving care for the allergy that she did not take," Abdi said.

Abdi asked Judge Anna R. Anzalone, who presided over Cirella's arraignment in East Meadow at the Nassau University Medical Center's intensive care unit, that bail be set at $100,000 cash or bond. Anzalone ordered that Cirella be held without bail.

Cirella had been in the hospital since Saturday afternoon, after she was discovered at home.

Autopsy results were inconclusive and further tests were pending, Abdi said. The tests did not rule out anaphylactic shock, which is an allergic reaction, she said.

Cirella wore a patterned white hospital gown and lay under a blanket, upright on a gurney during yesterday's proceedings, which lasted about five minutes.

Cirella's Legal Aid attorney, Yolanda Guerra, denied the accusations against her client, but she conceded, "We do realize these are heinous allegations."

The judge stood in the center of a semicircle of people that included a clerk, two court officers, a stenographer, the prosecutor, a newspaper reporter and two other attorneys from the Legal Aid Society.

After Anzalone's bail ruling, Guerra said, "Judge, my client would like to request protective custody" -- a motion Anzalone granted.

The child, who family and police said moved with the help of a wheelchair, had cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that impairs movement and muscle coordination.

Along with the suicide note, the girl's flower-decorated wheelchair was found in the home.

Joe Cirella -- Veronica's husband and Julie's father -- has been in the Nassau County jail since late last week after being accused of violating a restraining order. The details of that case were not available during the weekend.

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