Thursday, 3 November 2011

SIDS: Virginia: Brandi Casey pleads guilty

TAZEWELL – A young Richlands woman will serve five years for her role in the death of her nine-day- old child.
Brandi Nicole Casey, headed pleaded guilty to felony child abuse and neglect and possession schedule II narcotics. She also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges involving distribution of drugs.
Casey was before the court for sentencing July 20 and Commonwealth’s attorney Dennis Lee asked for her to be given the maximum sentence of 20 years. Casey was originally charged with killing her infant son but that charge was dismissed after the coroner’s report indicated the baby died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Lee based the child abuse and neglect charge on the fact Casey was using drugs on the night her child died and had used drugs during her pregnancy. Investigator Richard Brown testified that information from Clinch Valley Medical Center showed the child was born with oxycodone in its system.
The report from the medical examiner showed the child had benzodiazipam in its system at the time of death. Brown said Casey told him she had tried to breast feed the child on four or five occasions.
Defense Attorney Ann-Margaret Brammer argued that no one knew what caused SIDS and “thousands of babies die from it each year.’ Casey said the doctor told her the baby just forgot to breath.
Brammer said Casey had no previous problems with social services concerning her children and her problems stemmed from drugs. She asked that Casey be sent to the detention and diversion centers.
Brammer said there was no evidence Casey rolled over on her baby or did anything that contributed to the child’s death. She said Casey pleaded to the felony abuse charge because of her drug use the night the child died.
A tearful Casey testified that things were chaotic the night the child died because her mother-in-law had died in her sleep the previous night and she had to explain to her four-year-old why grandma wouldn’t wake up.
She said her grandmother, uncle and two other children were all in the home at the time the incident happened. Judge Teresa Chafins said it was one of the saddest cases she had dealt with.
She said Casey would have to live with the death of one child and having two others removed from her care. The judge said she was giving Casey a chance to get off drugs and straighten her life out.
“But it’s also my duty to punish you,’ she said. She imposed 10 years on the felony child abuse charge and suspended six. She suspended four of the five years imposed for the drug possession and two 12 month sentences on the misdemeanor drug charges.
She suspended both of the 12 month sentences, leaving Casey with five years to serve and five years of supervised probation.

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