ST. JOSEPH, Missouri- A Buchanan County teenage mother was sentenced to a prison treatment program and probation Tuesday after falling asleep on her child in a drug-induced state.
Kyla Coleen Watson, 18, entered a guilty plea on Sept. 21st, admitting that on June 1 she’d taken Xanax and smoked marijuana before falling asleep with her infant. The state charged her with felony endangering the welfare of a child according to a report by the St. Joseph News Press.
The state agreed to file no further charges in accordance with a reached plea bargain.
Taylor Beard, a Child Services investigator for the state said under questioning there had been three investigations of Watson and father Franklin Skeen Jr. involving the sleeping arrangements or abuse incidents.
One one incident, mother was uncooperative and told investigators not to tell her how to raise her baby, the report said.
“Both parents were told co-sleeping with their baby in the same bed was never OK,” Beard said.
“She has said she usually slept with the baby,” Kate Schaefer, an assistant Buchanan County prosecutor, stated.
The prosecutor left it to the judge to determine the appropriate sentence. The defense sought probation, the News Press Report explained.
“She’s trying to fix her life,” Jenkins told the judge. “Her life’s a wreck.” The attorney said his client receives counseling at the St. Joseph Safety Council.
But Watson will have to live with the knowledge that her actions led to the death of her child, Jenkins said.
Kellogg said it was a tragic situation and the defendant’s behavior comes with responsibilities.
The judge gave Watson a suspended sentence with five years of court supervised probation. He ordered her to first serve a 120-day prison treatment program before beginning her probation. She can consume no alcohol, must attend parenting classes, have no contact with Skeen, have drug and alcohol testing at her own expense, abide by a daily curfew and other court orders. Skeen was also previously sentenced to probation.