Clay County mom arrested after drugs found in her son’s system

Police arrested a Clay County mother, alleging her young son who died in December had drugs in his system that caused his death. Kathern Powell was arrested more than a month after the medical examiner ruled the boy’s cause of death was a homicide caused by acute bronchopneumonia following drug toxicity, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. She was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and culpable negligence. In most cases, aggravated manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. But the degree changes when a child, elderly person or a law enforcement officer is involved. Because this Clay County Manslaughter Case involves child, Powell’s charge is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison.

Powell allegedly found the boy face down in his crib and tried to wake him up in the shower before the child’s father and grandfather both attempted CPR, the newspaper reported. The boy was taken to the hospital and died a week later, the newspaper reported. Subsequent tests found opiates in his blood and urine, the newspaper reported. Police have not released Powell’s role in the case, nor have they discussed what drugs were involved or how the child ingested them, the newspaper reported. Those details will obviously be the key to this Clay County Manslaughter Case.

In a recent, Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, a mother pleaded guilty to the same charge after policed alleged she had drugged her child before to get him to fall asleep. That mother was sentenced to 15 years in prison, likely because the court found she had done it before. Past activity such as this when it involves a child can drastically affect a sentence in a Clay County Manslaughter Case. It is one thing for a child to get into drugs or any other substance if it’s in a drawer or in the reach of a child, but it’s quite another to intentionally give a child illegal drugs to try to get he or she to stay or fall asleep. The details will be important in this Clay County Drug Crimes case. If there is not a trial in this Clay County Manslaughter Case, it may not be until the sentencing hearing until those details emerge. At that point, or at trial, the defense will have its chance to explain the events, and provide information or mitigation to the judge in asking for a favorable sentence.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.