Mahoning County woman sentenced to prison, rehab for endangering child
YOUNGSTOWN — The bad news for Elizabeth R. Warner this week is that her prison sentence for a felony child endangering conviction is 15 months in prison. The good news is she only has to serve two months in prison before she is likely to be released into a substance-abuse treatment program.
Warner, 27, of Beloit, and the father of her child, Corey Douglas, 32, were both charged after their 18-month-old daughter fell ill and had to be revived with the opiate-reversal drug naloxone Feb. 24 after she ingested fentanyl. The child is now in the custody of the child’s grandmother.
When Warner pleaded guilty to the charge, prosecutors and the defense agreed to recommend that Warner get nine months in prison. But when Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Day mentioned Tuesday that Warner had already served about seven months in the Mahoning County jail awaiting trial, Judge Anthony D’Apolito had to make some changes.
He had decided to send Warner to prison, but only for a short time and then grant early release from prison and require her to spend about six months in a treatment program. But to make that work with her reduction because of seven months of jail credit, he had to increase her overall sentence to 15 months, which he did.
Kevin Day, assistant county prosecutor, said Warner deserved more consideration than Douglas because he is more responsible for the incident — because he “brought the drugs into the home and left them to where the child could access them.”
He said Warner had cooperated with prosecutors, though that does not “excuse Ms. Warner’s actions in failing to supervise her children” and does not excuse her failure to initially tell police the truth about what happened.
Police said the couple and their child were staying in a recreational vehicle behind a home on Johnson Road in Smith Township when the child was found in need of medical attention. Police said the child’s lips were blue, and she had a faint pulse and shallow breathing.
An officer administered rescue breaths and gave the child a dose of the opiate reversal drug naloxone. The girl was then taken by ambulance to a hospital in Alliance. She was later transferred to Akron Children’s Hospital, police said.
D’Apolito made sure Warner knew how Douglas’ sentencing hearing played out, with the judge asking Douglas to be honest about what happened, and Douglas failing to do so, which the judge felt he needed to do to begin the process of overcoming his drug addiction. “I gave him many opportunities to be truthful with me, and his lack of accepting responsibility is why I ultimately gave him the 18 months” in prison.
Warner then began to read a statement to the judge that started out: “Sorry for the pain I have caused, especially my kids.” But she became too emotional to read any more, so the judge read the statement to himself and said he felt comfortable that she was remorseful for what happened.
Warner told the judge she will get a sponsor and address her substance abuse when she gets out of prison. The judge said prison won’t help her with her addiction, but a treatment program when she gets out might.
So the judge said he plans to let her out of prison on judicial release after she serves two months and then put her in a treatment program. He already has set her judicial release hearing for Nov. 2. If she is not successful in treatment, she will have to serve the remaining six months in prison.
“Thank you,” Warner said.