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TRUMBULL COUNTY Prosecutor opposes mother's early release



Published: Wed, February 27, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defense attorney says the woman knows what she did was wrong and should be released from prison.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A judge should not allow a woman who caused the death of her newborn child out of prison early, a prosecutor states.

Christopher Becker, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, filed a motion objecting to the early release of Danielle M. Lentine. Lentine's attorney, Anthony Consoldane of the Ohio Public Defender's Commission, filed a motion last week in common pleas court asking that Lentine, who was sentenced to three years in prison in August, be freed.

"Instead of protecting and nurturing the infant, the defendant snuffed its life out in a matter of moments," Becker stated in his motion.

"A six-month sentence does not adequately warn the future Danielle Lentines of the community of the consequences of their actions should they choose to treat their newborn children in the same manner as the defendant chose to treat her newborn child."

Consoldane, however, said he believes his client has been punished enough.

"She knows what she did is wrong and there is no reason to punish her any more," Consoldane said. "Just locking her away is not doing anyone any good."

Consoldane noted that he believes Lentine, who pleaded guilty in June to a charge of involuntary manslaughter, would be better served if she were ordered to receive counseling.

Judge W. Wyatt McKay is scheduled to hear the matter March 27.

Judge McKay stated during Lentine's sentencing that if she behaves well in prison, he would consider "some type" of early release. The judge did not say how long he would want Lentine to serve before she would be freed.

State law says offenders must serve six months before they are eligible for an early release.

What's behind charges: Police say Lentine, of Columbus, killed her newborn baby in 1998 in her parents' Howland Township home.

Howland police say Lentine gave birth to a baby girl either in March, April or May 1998, suffocated the child, stuffed her into a garbage bag, and hid the bag in a crawl space in her parents' home.

The infant was found March 17, 2001, by Anthony Lentine, Danielle's father.

Lentine said she did not know she was pregnant. She also noted that she did not intend to kill the baby. She said she held the baby after she was born and the baby died.

An affidavit filed by the prosecutor's office with the court states that the crawl space was accessible only from the bedroom, which Danielle Lentine used to use. The affidavit adds that the baby moved after it was born and that Lentine intentionally killed the infant by suffocating it.

She had not lived at the Howland home since July 1999, according to an attorney representing Lentine's father.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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