A Pennsylvania mother whose 10-month-old son died after ingesting drugs by drinking her breast milk will avoid jail time after coming to a plea agreement with prosecutors, according to press release from the Bucks County District Attorney’s office.
Samantha Jones, 31, was originally charged with homicide but instead pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter on Wednesday. She was sentenced to probation for three years and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service working with addicted people who have children or are expecting.
“I never wanted this to happen. I loved my little boy more than anything,” Jones said during her sentencing, according to the press release. “I loved him, and I have to live with this every day.”
On April 2, 2018, police were called to Jones’ home where they found the infant in cardiac arrest, officials reported. Jones told law enforcement that she had recently switched to formula, but the baby started crying at 3 a.m. so she breastfed the baby.
“She just said she was so tired that she didn’t have the energy to go downstairs and make a bottle,” New Britain Township Detective Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cummins testified during a preliminary hearing last year.
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Three hours later, her husband prepared a bottle of formula before leaving for work, which she fed to the baby before falling asleep, Cummins said at the time. When she awoke, the baby was “distressed,” and Jones called for help.
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The formula inside the bottle tested negative for drugs, officials said. But according to a probable cause affidavit, the district attorney’s office stated the baby died from a fatal combination of amphetamine, methamphetamine and methadone, which was given to the child through Jones’ breast milk.
The DA’s office said Jones was approved to take methadone, and that “the drug alone is not considered unsafe for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.”
In court, Jones said she had relapsed prior to her son’s death and didn’t ask for help.
“Samantha was in control of this situation,” argued Deputy District Attorney Kristin M. McElroy. “She was in charge of a defenseless baby. He relied on her for everything, and it’s because of her actions that he’s not here today.”
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