Drug addict pleads guilty in death of daughter, 5 Girl died after drinking methadone mother left in refrigerator

June 29, 1996|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

The drug-addicted mother of a 5-year-old girl who died after drinking methadone she mistook for a soft drink pleaded guilty yesterday to involuntary manslaughter, Baltimore prosecutors said.

Jacquelyn Turner, 28, of the 900 block of Bennett Place entered the guilty plea before Judge Mabel H. Hubbard in Baltimore Circuit Court and was ordered to undergo a medical evaluation. Her sentence will be determined Sept. 3 after the evaluation is completed, said Assistant State's Attorney Denise Fili.

Turner had illegally bought a small amount of methadone on the street Feb. 1 and stored it in a cup in her refrigerator, intending to drink it herself later, according to a statement of facts read in court.

But on Feb. 7, her daughter, Jasmin, found and drank the methadone. Her mother noticed that the cup had been moved in the refrigerator and soon learned from Jasmin that she had drunk it, thinking it was "Kool-Aid," Fili said.

Methadone, a synthetic respiratory depressant used as a heroin substitute to treat addicts, is a sweet-tasting pink liquid that children can easily mistake for a candy-flavored drink, according to warnings from health officials.

Turner did not call the police or an ambulance but rather put her daughter to bed, thinking that the child would "sleep it off," Fili said. Turner then left the house to "get high," Fili said.

She returned late in the evening and went to bed. By morning, the child was dead, the statement of facts said.

An autopsy showed Jasmin had 5.8 grams of methadone in her body. Turner had originally been charged with second-degree murder, but she was allowed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter, since her conduct "was considered reckless, not intentional," Fili said.

Pub Date: 6/29/96

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