Woman gets 10 years for grandson's death

May 19, 1994|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer

A Northwest Baltimore woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday in the death of her 4-year-old grandson, who swallowed a lethal amount of methadone that was part of a stash she was selling.

Barbara Bonner, 41, received the maximum sentence allowed under an agreement in which she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death Aaron L. Avery Jr. The boy died July 12 at Sinai Hospital after swallowing a large quantity of methadone at the family home in the 5200 block of St. Charles Ave., authorities said.

The boy's mother, Theadora A. "Mousey" Powell, received a 10-year suspended sentence and was placed on five years of probation during a hearing yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court. Powell had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the boy's death.

Bonner was a licensed practical nurse at a methadone treatment clinic in East Baltimore where a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration audit showed thousands of doses of methadone were missing, said prosecutor Laura Mullally. She said Bonner sold a neighbor a cup of methadone for $20 on July 11, and while the neighbor talked on the telephone and left the cup unattended, the child drank the heroin substitute.

Although evidence showed the women quickly suspected the child had ingested the methadone -- and that they had routinely taken him to doctors for medical treatment of minor ailments -- they did not take him to the hospital until the next day. The failure to seek medical attention immediately drew the ire of Judge Elsbeth L. Bothe, who accused the women of putting their own concerns ahead of the boy's welfare.

The judge said she agreed not to sentence Powell to prison because the woman has two other children -- including one born while she was in jail awaiting trial. Ms. Mullally said the children are in foster care.

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