Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Indiana: April Killion: Mother pleads not guilty after baby's death

27 Dec 2010, Dan Klein
WASHINGTON, Ind. (WTHI) - April Killion pled not guilty Monday morning to felony charges after her two and a half month old baby dies in her care.
Washington police detectives said April Killion, 25, laid down with "Baby J", her two and a half month old infant, inside her home May 2nd. Investigators believe the infant slid off Killion's chest and suffocated against the back of the love seat. Assistant Police Chief Mike Healy said Killion tested positive for meth, marijuana and Xanax in a drug screen at the time of Baby J's death.
"It's just a tough case for us to work," said Healy. "It's hard for us because we have to deal with it too. And not only does it affect her and the baby but it affects a lot of people, other family members that it affects also. So it's hard on all of them, it's hard on the whole family."
April's mother Anna Killion told News 10 she does not think her daughter is guilty. Neighbor Pamela Cook agrees that April is a devoted mother and wouldn't have slept knowingly with a baby on her chest.
"April is not guilty," said Cook. "She's had a hard life but she would not harm a hair on her children's head."
In the incident report, April later told police she laid Baby J on his back on the couch, while she took a nap on the love seat. She said she did not have a prescription to Xanax but admitted to taking two pills several hours before the incident.
Witnesses told police April was sleeping so soundly they could not wake her by yelling or shaking her.
Baby J's autopsy lists co-sleeping with the mother as a significant factor in the cause of death. The official cause of death is listed as Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy.
"It's not a crime to sleep with a baby," said Healy "But the whole part...with the drugs, that's what makes it neglect."
Killion faces felony charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and reckless homicide. Even so, her family and friends continue their support.
"I would just say have mercy," said Cook. "See if for what it is, see it for what it is."
Six years ago, April Killion had another infant die. The baby was less than one month old. The cause of death was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or S.I.D.S.
News 10 also spoke with Baby J's father, Brian Belcher. Belcher said it was a rought deal but declined further comment without talking with his lawyer.

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