Mother killed toddler by putting fentanyl in sippy cup so she could 'relax' and smoke marijuana, claim prosecutors
The prosecutors are blaming the mother of having a specific intent to kill as fentanyl was present in the cup she gave to her daughter.
Jhenea Pratt, arrested in 2018 by Pittsburgh police, was charged with homicide and endangering the welfare of children as her infant daughter Charlette died of fentanyl poisoning. As reported by Post-Gazette, the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office found traces of fentanyl in the toddler’s blood as well as in the sippy cup which her daughter used for feeding.
The 17-month-old was in the care of Jhenea Pratt and her boyfriend Albert Williams. Diana Page, an assistant district attorney, asked the jurors during the trial "[The] defense wants you to believe [Mr. Williams] has something to do with Charlette's death, but why? Why would he harm her child when he has kids of his own that he takes care of?" She then told the jurors that Ms. Pratt wanted to "sit back, relax and smoke marijuana." She added, "That baby was getting in the way of her enjoying her pastime." Page tried impress that the mother had the "specific intent to kill."
The defense lawyer, however, blamed Williams for putting the fentanyl. Brandon Herring, the defense attorney, argued that "Albert had access to fentanyl and he prepared the sippy cup." He also added that "The prosecution hasn't provided any evidence that Ms. Pratt put the fentanyl in that cup." The prosecutors, on the other hand, do not believe that Williams had anything to do with it and that it was the mother who was solely responsible.
Pratt had earlier told the police that she had given the child the sippy cup and put her to bed. She had then smoked marijuana and had gone back to check up on her when she realized that the child was not breathing and had called 911. Williams had earlier in the day also given the baby a sippy cup but the police believe that it was Pratts' cup which was laced.
The authorities had mentioned in the complaint that “If Charlette had ingested fentanyl during the time frame Williams had her she would have died very shortly after ingesting it.” What this means is that the timelines do not match and the defense' argument blaming Williams does not hold water.
The case is not dependent on the jurors who would consider the facts of the case and decide if Ms. Pratt was guilty of first-degree murder, third-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter.