Miranda Hopkins, 32, is facing up to 30 years for the death of her 7-week-old infant son after she was found guilty of manslaughter in a Maine court on Tuesday. She was charged with manslaughter and the jury convicted her of this crime after they deliberated for several hours. She will return to court next month for sentencing.
Hopkins took the stand in her own defense as the seven-day trial was coming to a close, according to the Bangor Daily News. She told the jurors that after a night of drinking several shots of whiskey and smoking marijuana, she woke up to find her infant son unresponsive. He was cold and stiff, she said.
When she was first arrested for this crime, which happened back in January, Hopkins told investigators that she believed one of her two sons with autism may have killed the baby by beating the infant to death. She claimed that she had no idea how this happened. Once on the witness stand months later, she told the jurors that she’d never seen her sons ever attempt to harm the baby.
Her two older sons, ages 6 and 8, are both “profoundly autistic” and “nonverbal.” She told investigators that one of the boys must have somehow entered the room in which she was sleeping, but that would mean getting past a 3-foot-tall baby gate. Once in the room, the baby must have been beaten and she believed this happened without her seeing or hearing anything, which is what the prosecutor conveyed to the jury.
The prosecutor for this case, Attorney Leanne Zainea, told the jury how Hopkins said early on in the investigation that she first lied in fear of her family being separated, according to People Magazine. She feared the kids would be put in foster care. Zainea conveyed that she had a hard time when it came to understanding this mother was concerned about the family since she pointed the finger at her two “severely autistic boys.” Zainea said,
“She said she was afraid her family would be separated, but she had no problem pointing the finger at two nonverbal, severely autistic boys.”
Zainea told the jurors,
“Your common sense and reason tells you she misled the officers for a very different reason, because she was afraid for herself.”
When Hopkins first reported the baby’s death, she told police that she had blacked out after the whiskey and marijuana and when she woke up she found the baby “beat to hell,” reports WCSH 6 Portland News. The medical examiner’s office indicated that the baby died from blunt force injuries to the head. Her sentence will be determined on December 13; until then this mother is held on $50,000 bond.
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