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Prosecutor: Mother Must Be Held Accountable For Son's Death

Last updated on Tuesday, February 12, 2008

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A woman accused of getting drunk and smothering her toddler faces 20 to 50 years in prison if she is convicted.

Prosecutors filed one count of neglect of a dependent as a Class A felony against Latasha McMorris Tuesday morning.

McMorris cried in court as the judge explained the charges and penalties and entered a preliminary plea of not guilty on her behalf. Family members also cried and made no comments to the media following the initial hearing.

Prosecuting attorney Helen Marchal says it is a sad case, however the evidence will prove McMorris made a choice which ultimately ended in the death of 2-year-old Sheldon Bartley and she must be held accountable for her actions.

The probable cause affidavit indicates police found McMorris surrounded by empty liquor bottles and that she admitted to drinking most of the day. Authorities believe McMorris passed out on top of the child, which smothered him to death.

A jury trial is tentatively scheduled for April 21st.

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