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Jury Gets Case of Woman Accused of Infant Son's Drug Death

The Region

September 06, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A jury of 10 women and two men began deliberations Friday in the murder trial of a Per- ris woman accused of killing her 3-month-old son by allowing him to ingest a lethal dose of methamphetamine in January 2002.

"It's a tragedy from start to finish, and there's no way to feel about this case other than terribly sad," said Stephen Yagman, defense attorney for Amy Leanne Prien, 31.

During the trial, Yagman argued that Prien's son, Jacob Wesley Smith, died of sudden infant death syndrome.

Riverside County prosecutor Allison Nelson told jurors Prien was alone with her son for the final 12 to 16 hours of his life, and that she most likely allowed him to ingest the drug though her breast milk.

Methamphetamine was found in Jacob's stomach, liver and blood in amounts the Riverside County coroner's office determined was lethal.

Nelson said that even if the entire dose did not come from breast feeding, her neglect created an environment that was felonious child endangerment.

She allowed methamphetamine to be sold in plastic baby bottle liners from her former Mead Valley home.

"Every single gram of meth in that house was there due to her," Nelson told jurors

She is charged with second-degree murder and child endangerment.

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