Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By Betty Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA -- A Bingham woman whose toddler swallowed cocaine last August will spend 90 days in jail.
Jillian Jones, 22, was sentenced Friday after previously pleading guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of cocaine.
At Friday's hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court, the blond toddler in soft brown boots slept soundly in her grandmother's arms, a green pacifier in her mouth.
Jones took a deep breath and sobbed before speaking to Justice Nancy Mills.
"I'm so sorry about this," Jones said, weeping. "I don't know how to explain how sorry I am for putting myself in this situation and more so for putting her in that situation. She didn't deserve that. I am just so thankful she's alive. From here on out, I'm going to be the best mom I can be."
Her attorney, Sherry Tash, told the judge that the child suffered no lasting effects from ingesting the cocaine.
Tash also told the judge that Jones immediately took steps to deal with her substance abuse problem, including completing several drug programs.
"She's in counseling and doing really well, and she's been with her child ever since," Tash said.
The toddler will stay with Jones' mother while Jones is in jail, Tash said.
Mills sentenced Jones to 364 days in jail, with all but 90 days suspended, and one year of administrative release. She was also fined $400.
Mills said she was glad to see the child had recovered from the "extraordinarily regrettable situation."
Conditions of administrative release prohibit Jones from contact with the child's father, Justin Currier, 30, except through a third party.
Jones and Currier were both arrested and charged following the incident, which happened in their apartment building in Oakland on June 23.
At the time, Oakland Police Chief Rick Stubbert said the child, who was 18 months old at the time, apparently found cocaine in the apartment and ingested some of it. Both parents were in the same room with the toddler at the time but were not supervising her, he said.
The Waterville Communications Center received a 911 call from Jones at 10:57 a.m., saying that the child had swallowed cocaine and was not breathing, according to Stubbert. Jones also called for help from neighbors.
The child was taken to the hospital and stayed there overnight.
Police didn't know exactly how much cocaine the child had swallowed. The cocaine was reportedly destroyed before police arrived.
By the time police and rescue workers arrived at the apartment, the child was alert and breathing.
Assistant District Attorney James Mitchell Jr. told the judge that Currier was on probation for a felony at the time of the incident.
Currier is serving 364 days in jail on convictions for endangering the welfare of child, unlawful possession of cocaine and falsifying physical evidence. He was sentenced on Sept. 13.
Jones pleaded guilty on Oct. 4 to the two misdemeanor charges, and the judge postponed the sentencing hearing until she received the toddler's medical records.
Betty Adams -- 621-5631