24-year-old walks free even though her drug use was the cause of her son's death
Basinger was charged with involuntary manslaughter and negligent child abuse in the death of her son
The three-year-old son of a North Carolina woman froze to death on the front porch of their family home when the woman admitted that she had "passed out" after taking drugs. She will not serve prison time after pleading guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charges.
24-year-old Jamie Lyn Basinger from Morgantown pleaded guilty to the death of her son, Landyn Melton, in March. She received a suspended sentence of 19 to 32 months with three years of supervised probation.
Basinger has spent eight months in jail already after being charged in April. On Monday, December 11, a judge ordered her to follow all the conditions of substance abuse assessment. She also has to perform 72 hours of community service and adhere to all orders from the Department of Social Services with regard to her second child.
Prosecutors have said that Basinger's use of methamphetamines two days before her son's death and also smoking marijuana the night before his death led to the boy's death.
Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lippert told Judge Nathaniel Poovey: "While she was passed out inside the home, by her own admission sleeping harder than normal, Landyn was freezing to death."
On March 15, one day after celebrating his third birthday, Landyn was found outside his home on the porch, frozen to death. A neighbor had dialed 911 after seeing the toddler lying on the porch. When police arrived on the scene, Joshua Steffey, Basinger's boyfriend, answered the door and then went inside and brought her out. They both admitted to smoking meth two days earlier and marijuana the night before.
According to News Herald, the smudged fingerprints found on the porch's glass door showed that the boy had tried to get back inside the house after realizing he was stuck outside. Lippert said the temperature was approximately 21 degrees without a wind chill that night.
“She was supposed to be supervising this child,” Lippert told The New York Post. “He had just turned 3, he was outside. By her own admission, she was sleeping harder than normal. She didn’t hear him — didn’t hear him leave the room, didn’t hear him leave the house, didn’t hear him banging on the door. She was asleep while he was freezing to death.”
Felony child abuse charges were dropped against Basinger as part of the plea deal but her mother said that this "hearing did little to provide closure."
Brenda Basinger told the News Herald, “She’s going to have to live with this the rest of her life. She’s going to have a battle – we all are.”
Jamie Basinger: Mom Who Allowed Son To Freeze To Death While She Slept Gets Probation, Time… https://t.co/zhSUalzeN7— FRANCIS K S LIM (@cgnetwork) December 12, 2017
The grandmother thinks that her grandson would've been pleased by the outcome of he was here. “If Landyn was here, he would be happy right about now. Happy that mommy gets to come home.”
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