Mother Sentenced to Ten (10) Years for Playing on Facebook while her Son Drowned
On Friday, thirty-four-year-old (34) Shannon Johnson was sentenced to ten (10) years in prison for negligently causing the death of her thirteen-month-old (13) son Joseph. According to court documents, Ms. Johnson put Joseph in the bathtub the morning of September 20th and then left him unsupervised in a tub full of water while she played a game on Facebook in the other room. When Ms. Johnson returned to check on Joseph, she found him lying face-down, sideways in the tub. Ms. Johnson called 911, and paramedics were able to revive Joseph. However, Joseph was transported to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. During the investigation, Ms. Johnson told police that Joseph wanted to be left alone in the bathtub because he had become independent.
In March, Ms. Johnson pled guilty to her son’s death, and faced a possible sentence ranging from four (4) to twelve (12) years in prison. Although the charge also left open the possibility for community corrections or probation, this option was not provided to Ms. Johnson because authorities did not want to downplay the severity of the crime.
At sentencing, Judge Thomas Quammen said he did not think Ms. Johnson intended to kill her son nor did he think she was a bad person. However, Judge Quammen also added that regardless of Ms. Johnson’s intent, her actions were still criminal. Judge Quammen further said “You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games, and you left that thirteen-month-old (13) human being, little Joseph, incredibly for those reasons.”
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