OTTAWA — A Fort Jennings woman was sentenced to seven years in the death of her 2-year-old son after he ingested prescription pills that were in the trailer the family was living in and died.
Putnam County Common Pleas Judge Keith Schierloh handed down the sentence Thursday to Jessica McClure, 25. McClure previously pleaded guilty on July 11 to one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; and four counts of endangering children. Included in the sentence is six months in prison concurrently for counts three, four and five. During Thursday’s sentencing, the involuntary manslaughter and second charge were combined. Upon completion of the prison term she may be subject to a period of supervision of post release control for five years. She will be given credit for 106 days served.
Shierloh said the court has spent significant time considering the case and not taken it lightly to determine an appropriate sentence.
McClure appeared in court with her attorney, Alex Treece, and they both provided statements.
Treece said in fall 2018 McClure made what he described as a difficult decision. She was about to be evicted from her home and moved with her boyfriend and four children into her mother’s trailer.
“They wanted privacy, so they partitioned off that area. On the day of Nov. 7, she was getting ready to go to work and came to the realization that the pills were on the floor,” Treece said. He said a series of unfortunate events happened that day where her son got into the pills, and she never expected or wanted it to happen.
He said his client made a poor decision and, unfortunately, her son died as a result.
McClure provided statements during her sentencing Thursday.
“I miss my baby every day and have always done everything for my children,” McClure said.
Schierloh said the court was charged with looking at the seriousness of the case and reviewed the events that took place Nov. 7, 2018, when her son died.
“You are a parent with four children living in tight quarters and these rooms of separation where the children and you were were walls built out of plywood that your 2-year old twins were set in almost like a crib,” Schierloh said. He said she did not have knowledge that the children were able to escape those quarters.
She was on her way to work, and she thought her children were taking naps. She noticed there were pills laying on the floor and in her statements and while at work she messaged her boyfriend when he was at work informing him that there were pills on the floor of the trailer that needed to be picked up.
She said the prescription pills were someone else’s she wasn’t taking at the time. She brought them with her when she moved to her mother’s trailer. In previous statements, she said the pills were in a box that was duct taped.
Schierloh spoke about the conditions of her home and described it as absolutely deplorable.
She had previously stated there were six people living in the back part of her mother’s trailer and when she took off her children’s diapers, feces got on the wall and said she did not have time to clean it before she went to work.
”I ask myself every day why I didn’t pick up the pills,” McClure said. “I was looking for a house and we were supposed to move out and I know my children should not have been living in those conditions but is was something I had to do at the time.”
Schierloh said all of these situations cost McClure a child and their siblings lost a brother.
“To have this comment that you were an attentive mother and knew what your children were doing is tough for this court to understand,” Schierloh said. He said he understands McClure may have remorse for losing her child, but not sure she has remorse for her actions.
“Your actions and inactions led to the death of your own child,” Schierloh said.
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