updated 10/5/2006 6:40:20 PM ET 2006-10-05T22:40:20

A woman was sentenced to 47 years to life in prison Thursday for a knife attack that killed one little girl and left another paralyzed outside a casino in 2003.

Judge Donald Mosley sentenced Monique Maestas, 20, as he affirmed a death sentence for her brother, Beau Maestas, 23.

The siblings had pleaded guilty to the stabbings that killed 3-year-old Kristyanna Cowan and severed the spine of her 10-year-old sister, Brittney Bergeron. The girls had been left alone in a trailer outside a Mesquite casino where their mother and her boyfriend were gambling.

Authorities said Beau and Monique Maestas attacked the girls in retaliation because the girls’ mother and her boyfriend had sold them salt in place of methamphetamine.

“This case has to be one of the most horrendous I have ever been involved with,” the judge said. “It is a tragedy all the way around ... brought on by this scourge in our community, narcotics.”

Monique Maestas was ineligible for the death penalty because she was 16 when the attack occurred. A jury in August decided her brother should get the death penalty.

The defendants pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder and other charges.

The girls’ mother, Tamara Bergeron, was sentenced last year to at least four years in prison for leaving the girls alone in the trailer. Her boyfriend, Robert Schmidt, was sentenced to at least two years.

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