A New Jersey woman who left her 2-year-old daughter unattended for hours because she was high on drugs has been sentenced. NJ.com is reporting that Deanna Joseph bagged a 15-year sentence on Friday for the death of her toddler daughter, Kayley Freeman, in 2017. The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to child endangerment, drug use, weapon charges, and manslaughter. Her husband, unimpressed with the maximum prison term, called for his wife to be sent to hell rather than prison.
Thomas Freeman found his daughter dead and his wife passed out in the driveway leading up to their Alloway residence. The distraught father told the court that the haunting flashback deprived him of sleep for days. An autopsy revealed that the 2-year-old toddler had died of positional asphyxia, a condition where an individual’s breathing is impeded because of how the body is positioned.
Joseph had initially lied to investigators that she used drugs that fateful day. However, a search of her car unearthed traces of cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin. A subsequent blood test confirmed cocaine in her system. Cops also discovered a handgun in the trunk of her car. During her trial, the court learned that Joseph, a perpetual drug user, made two, nine-mile drug trips from Alloway to Salem with her little daughter strapped in the backseat on the day that she died.
The enraged father, in a letter to the court and seen by the Daily Mail, said his wife had conned a light sentence out of the system with her double-faced remorse and crocodile tears.
“The tears are made so you feel bad for her. Every tear is a lie…hell is not good enough for her…15 years is not enough time. Kayley’s life was worth way more than that.”
Joseph had a bloated criminal record that included 10 felony convictions. In two of those cases, she left children unattended while she was high on drugs. In 2008, she passed out in a car, leaving her children alone at home for a whole night.
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She permanently lost parental rights to the four kids in 2011. In 2013, she gave birth to a fifth child, but was arrested, after blacking out and leaving him in a bath in 2014. The child also was removed from her care.
Deanna Joseph had been arrested six times and convicted for possessing crack cocaine, cocaine, and heroin before Kayley died. Marica Robinson Lowry, founder of A Better Childhood, a child advocacy group, slammed the New Jersey Department of Children and Families for allowing the 40-year-old woman to still have relations with her daughter, despite her bothersome history.
“I find the case shocking…why was she allowed the kind of close relationship with the girl that she had?”
Deanna Joseph’s case is not the first time that a mother doing drugs has let a child die. The New York Post is reporting that a North Carolina woman let her 3-year-old child freeze to death on the front porch after the mother passed out from a drug binge. Jamie Basinger pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and served no prison time.
Joseph must serve 85 percent of her manslaughter sentence and at least a year of her weapons sentence before she can be eligible for parole.