Judge says conduct of mother of overdosed babies inexcusable
By Ed Runyan
A Trumbull County judge sentenced a young Warren mother Wednesday to 30 months in prison for failing to protect her children, age 21 months and 9 months, from opiates they ingested.
Carlisa Davis, 19, of Randolph Street, did not speak at the sentencing in common pleas court, but her attorney, Michael Scala, tried to persuade Judge W. Wyatt McKay to let Davis go free on probation with no prison time.
Scala argued that Davis’ behavior was “an act of recklessness, not purposeful” and that the care of her children “otherwise was good” except for the incident that caused her to be charged.
He also gave Davis credit for securing a part-time job making more than $11 per hour shortly after these crimes, despite not having a high school education.
But Diane Barber, assistant county prosecutor, said the prosecutor’s office was recommending the maximum six years in prison because of “serious physical harm” to both children “on the defendant’s watch.”
Barber said Davis “exhibited total disregard for their health and safety up until the time they ingested the heroin and even after they ingested the heroin.”
Davis, the two children, Davis’ mother and other family members lived in a home on Randolph Street Northwest in February when the incident occurred. Davis and the father of one of the children took both kids to the hospital after one of them became unresponsive. The other child became unresponsive at the hospital.
Barber told Judge McKay that Davis “refused to answer questions put to her by medical personnel about what could possibly be wrong with these children” shortly after they arrived at the hospital.
Medical personnel and a social worker guessed at what was wrong, and an emergency-room doctor tried naloxone, and it revived both children.
Barber said Davis’ refusal to tell anyone about drugs in the house delayed treatment by 30 minutes.
“Defense counsel has characterized this as a reckless act on [Davis’] part, but certainly her behavior after the fact was intentional,” Barber countered.
Judge McKay said one of the important factors in sentencing Davis to prison was her not telling anyone at the hospital what might be wrong with the children.
“You are extremely lucky you are not facing two charges of involuntary manslaughter to say the least,” Judge McKay said of the possibility the children might have died. “And if that were the case, you would be going to jail for a long, long time.”
“Your decision not to discuss what has happened to your children at the hospital, in the opinion of this court, is inexcusable, intolerable and unacceptable,” he said.
Davis has been in the Trumbull County jail since being convicted of two counts of felony child endangering Nov. 3 in a trial before Judge McKay.
In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors said Davis admitted to knowing that her brothers sold drugs out of the home.
On the day the children overdosed, Davis told police her brother warned her that one of the children had gotten into drugs, and Davis saw one of her children “playing in white powder” when she awoke from a nap, a court filing says.
A filing in Trumbull County Family Court says Children Services has asked a judge to transfer legal custody of all three of Davis’ children to Davis’ maternal grandparents.
A hearing is planned for 1:30 p.m. Friday in Family Court.