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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Woman Charged With Smothering Grandson

Grandmother charged with manslaughter after falling asleep on grandson, killing him. WCCO:

    A grandmother has been charged with manslaughter after she fell asleep in bed with her infant grandson and rolled onto him, suffocating him.

    Tina Louise Miller-Steiner, 45, of Lakeville was charged on Tuesday with two counts of second-degree manslaughter. The incident happened in May while Miller-Steiner was babysitting 6-month-old Evan Michael Berney.

    According to the Dakota County Attorney, Miller-Steiner told police she was on some prescription drugs, Paxil and an antidepressant, and she had two martinis over two hours. She laid down in bed with the child as she fed him and she fell asleep.

    One of her daughters came home and found Miller-Steiner on the child, and Evan was pale. Miller-Steiner told her daughter to call 911 while she performed CPR, but Evan was pronounced dead at the hospital.

    "This was a tragic death which could have been avoided. Our sympathy is extended to parents and family of Evan Berney," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

    In June, Miller-Steiner told WCCO's Bridgette Bornstein that she is heartbroken as she struggles with the death of a grandson she adored.

    "I think about my grandson all the time. I think about how tragic the accident was," she said.

    Tears streamed down Miller-Steiner's face as she described what happened the night she was babysitting her grandson.

    "He was everything to me. I was totally in love with him. I was there when he was born. I got to help bring him into the world," she said. "Everybody who knows me knows how much I loved that baby. I would have never intentionally hurt him."

I may take a lot of heat for writing what I'm about to say, but I think charging and prosecuting the grandmother is absurd. She will live the rest of her life knowing that she is responsible for the death of her grandchild.

I am not excusing her behavior or her bad judgement. But to prosecute her is the legal system run amok in the most absurd and surreal sense possible.

There is a similar case that happened last year in South Carolina. WISTV:

    A Lexington County grandmother was caring for her infant granddaughter when she awoke about 8:30am Friday to find the child dead, officials say.

    They were sleeping in the same bed, and Lexington County Sheriff James Metts says Laurie Parrish, 43, of Jefferson Place in Columbia, had been drinking and using various prescription drugs and marijuana.

    Officials think her intoxication contributed to the death of the infant, six-month-old Kailyn Platt.

    Kailyn's mother was working a late shift at a fast-food restaurant while the grandmother was with the infant.

    Laurie Parrish has been charged with homicide by child abuse, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana. She is being held at the Lexington County Detention Center.

Charging the grandmothers with homicide or manslaughter is - in my opinion - simply insane. There is no punishment that will be as severe as the self-imposed hell that these grandmothers will impose on themselves. Prosecuting them is, again in my opinion, a waste of time and resources of our legal system.

I don't know - - - what do you think? Add your comments.

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I don't know what to think or say about this one. Throwing this woman in prison would be a waste of good jail space and it would serve no purpose. Good jail space should be saved for Fraudy and his criminal cabal.
No sentence will ever be more harsh or severe than what these grandmothers will live with for the rest of their lives. I simply think prosecuting them is a waste of, as you said, good jail space that should be reserved for Fraudy and his criminal cabal. Absolutely.
You're saying the charges should be dropped because the grandmas didn't intend the consequences of what resulted in the deaths of the children. Dave, that happnes all the time and the guilty party still gets prosecuted. Does the nation suspend or selectively enforce what charges to prosecute based on the relationship between the accused and the victim?

I think you;re way off base on this one Dave saying that the grannies shouldn't be held accountable and they be prosecuted.

You force me think on many levels, and this is all good.

I can't counter-debate your points. You are correct. By not punishing the grandmothers, it does send a message that others may interpret as being soft on the person accused.

No, the nation should not suspend or selectively enforce charges based on the relationship between the accused and victims.

I do wonder if there is the option for the mother's of the children to opt for not prosecuting and dropping the charges on their side. But since both situations involve children, the law likely has no choice but to take the course of action they are.

I'm saying that no court, jury or judge can impose any harsher sentence on the grandmothers than they will impose on themselves and will have to live with for the rest of their lives. And - and again, this is only my opinion - prosecuting them and charging them seems like a waste of time and resources.

You, Tym, Molson, Theodore, Ted, MAS, Groovy, TMJ and virtually all regular commenters here force me to think and rethink my positions sometimes. And this is all good. This what we should do and how it should be. Thanks for your input. Counter-counter points are always welcome. You know that.
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