A Riverside, Ca., woman was sentenced yeserday to life in prison for murdering her infant son by allowing him to ingest a lethal dose of methamphetamine, possibly through her breast milk. The Los Angeles Times says Amy Leanne Prien, a mother of four, was convicted of second-degree murder and child endangerment in early September. Prien, 31, will be eligible for parole in 15 years.
Prien’s 3-month-old son, Jacob Wesley Smith, was found dead in Prien’s bed in January 2002. Riverside County District Attorney Grover Trask said he wanted Prien’s case to deter other drug abusers and to help change the county’s reputation as a “methamphetamine capital.”
Prosecution witnesses described Prien’s home as a squalid drug den frequented by users and dealers. One juror said Prien might have loved her son, but “she loved that meth more.”
Prien’s attorney, Stephen Yagman, will appeal, arguing that she was erroneously convicted based on faulty jury instructions that felony child endangerment could be considered an inherently dangerous crime. The prosecution argued that Prien deserved a tough sentence and said letting her out early would put her other three children at risk.