Jamie Basinger, a North Carolina woman whose son froze to death while she smoked meth just a few feet away, was sentenced to time served plus probation for the crime, WLOS-TV (Asheville) is reporting.
In a plea deal entered in court on Monday morning, Basinger, 24, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 3-year-old Landyn Roberts, who died in March. In exchange for the guilty plea, Basinger will be credited with the 245 days she’s already served behind bars and will be on probation for 36 months. However, if she violates any of the conditions of her probation, she will serve an additional 19 months behind bars. Charges of felony child abuse were dropped as part of the plea deal.
According to The Morganton News Herald, Landyn was found dead on March 15. A concerned neighbor, noticing the child laying on the porch and not moving, had called the police. When police showed up, an officer knocked so hard on the door, trying to get an adult’s attention, that Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lippert said she was surprised he didn’t break the glass door.
Jamie’s boyfriend, Joshua Steffey, went to retrieve Jessica. Both adults admitted to smoking meth two days earlier and marijuana the day before.
As it turns out, Landyn had managed to escape the house while the adults were asleep. They were apparently sleeping so soundly that they didn’t hear Landyn get out or his desperate attempts to get back inside. Smudged fingerprints on the glass screen door, which matched Landyn’s, demonstrated that the terrified boy was trying to get back inside. However, he failed to get an adult’s attention, and on the night before his third birthday, as the temperature outside dipped to 21 degrees, Landon laid down and froze to death while the adults who cared for him slept.
Jamie’s attorney, Frank Webster, told the court that Jamie was despondent over her son’s death and cooperated with the police because she “wanted answers” as much as the authorities did. He maintained that it was all a tragic accident.
“When this happened, when she saw Landyn laying on the porch, she broke down in tears — falling on the ground. She’s really never stopped crying since, your honor.”
Webster also discounted the notion that his client’s drug use played any role in Landyn’s death.
“I certainly don’t see the foreseeability of somebody using meth and then two days later expect something like this to happen.”
Lippert, however, wasn’t having any excuses.
“By her own admission, she was sleeping harder than normal. She didn’t hear him — didn’t hear him leave the room, didn’t hear him leave the house, didn’t hear him banging on the door. She was asleep while he was freezing to death.”