A Jacksonville woman whose infant daughter died of a methadone overdose was sentenced last week to the maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Jennifer Frazier pleaded guilty earlier this year to manslaughter by culpable negligence, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Frazier told police she used a container that had been used to mix methadone when she was giving ibuprofen and an antibiotic to her daughter, the newspaper reported. But prosecutors painted a much more sinister picture during the sentencing in this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, which the judge obviously sided with. Manslaughter by culpable negligence is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and the judge gave her the longest sentence allowable under the law.
In this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, Frazier chose not to go to trial and pleaded guilty to the judge. In many plea agreements, the prosecution and the defense have agreed on a sentence that is presented to the judge for final approval. That was not done in the Jacksonville Manslaughter Case as prosecutors asked for 15 years and the defense was requesting Frazier be sentenced to the time she has already served and probation. In many Jacksonville Manslaughter Cases where a person pleads guilty, the details that would have been used in a trial do not come out until the sentencing. Then, the sentencing phase essentially becomes a trial where the state and defense both lay out their cases for what they feel is an appropriate sentence. Both sides call witnesses, with the state usually bringing law enforcement officers to the stand and the defense calling family members and others who can speak to the defendant’s character.
In the sentencing for this Jacksonville Manslaughter case, a set of facts that had not previously been reported was brought out by the state. Prosecutors alleged Frazier intentionally drugged the baby to get the child to sleep and had done it before, the newspaper reported. Though Frazier denied that claim, the child’s father told Frazier in a police interview room that he told her not to use methadone with the child, but he wasn’t going to “rat her out.” The father later denied saying that, but the judge concluded there was no other way the baby would have had eight times the lethal dose of methadone in her system in this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, the newspaper reported. Excluding the rare event that prosecutors drop a Jacksonville Manslaughter Case or any other case, the cases will resolve in one of three ways: a trial, a plea directly to a judge or a negotiated plea agreement between the state and the defense. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney has defended thousands of clients over the years and can lay out all of you options to make the best decision going forward.
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. Our Jacksonville Manslaughter Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.