WEST BRANCH, Michigan – A woman accused of causing her infant daughter's death by feeding her breast milk containing cocaine was sentenced Wednesday to nine months behind bars on a reduced charge.
Sara Shelby pleaded guilty last month to a charge of attempted manslaughter in the Aug. 21, 2005 death of 5-month-old Karie Lee Bowman. She originally was charged with involuntary manslaughter, a 15-year felony, but agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in which she would terminate her parental rights to her other child, a 5-year-old daughter. Shelby voluntarily turned over parental rights months ago, defense attorney William Engemann said Wednesday.
Police said Shelby, a 24-year-old West Branch resident, told them she had used cocaine two or three times the day before her daughter's death.
A medical examiner ruled that the girl died of cocaine intoxication.
Ogemaw County Circuit Judge William Baumgartner also ordered Shelby to serve 18 months probation and pay costs totaling $900. If she pays all of her fines, she will receive credit for one month's jail time, said court coordinator Diane Pelts.