Woman’s plea in death of 2-month-old leads to sentence of time served
Published 12:00 am Friday, September 16, 2011
By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY ó A Salisbury woman pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter Friday in the 2009 death of her 2-month-old son.
Latoyia Niccole Myersí family cried and hugged defense attorney James Davis after hearing she would spend no more time behind bars.
Myers received a sentence of 16 to 20 months with credit for the 21/2 years sheís sat in the Rowan County jail awaiting trial in the death of Jyhiem Adam Bacon.
She faced up to 104 months in prison, court officials said.
Myers was originally charged with second-degree murder. Authorities said in 2009 that a preliminary autopsy indicated the child suffocated.
Barrett Popler, an assistant district attorney, said Friday that a final autopsy listed the cause of death as ěundetermined.î An expert witness for the defense was prepared to testify the death was consistent with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The prosecutor said those were ěcritical factors in the decision in this case.î
Wearing a light-brown jumpsuit, Myers walked into Rowan County Superior Court about 11:15 a.m. She waved and blew a kiss to family members among the few people in the courtroom, including the father of the infant.
When Judge Kevin Bridges asked if she realized that by pleading no contest to the charge, she would be treated as guilty, Myers said in a clear, loud voice, ěYes.î
Police officers found Jyhiem Bacon unresponsive in a local motel room after Myers called 911 on Feb. 14, 2009. Emergency medical responders tried to revive the infant, but he was already dead.
Investigators found marijuana and cocaine in the motel room and initially charged Myers with drug offenses. A few days later, authorities charged her with second-degree murder in her sonís death. After taking her into custody, they discovered she had more cocaine in her possession.
Myers also pleaded no contest Friday to possession of cocaine and possession of a controlled substance on jail premises.
Bridges described the case as ěvery tragic circumstances.î
ěIím really at a loss for words,î he said before telling the court Myers would be set free.
Speaking with the family after the plea hearing, defense attorney Davis called the decision ěa blessing.î
ěSheís coming home,î he said.
It was the second time a child of Myers had died.
On Nov. 11, 2007, authorities responding to a 911 call found 29-day-old Zy-marion Dwayne Myers dead. An autopsy determined accidental suffocation occurred as Myers and the infant slept together, the baby on top of a pillow.
The report noted a child of that age face down on a pillow would not be able to raise his head.