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Mother gets 11 to 22 years for co-sleeping death of infant son

WISN Milwaukee logo WISN Milwaukee 2018-03-13
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A Pennsylvania mother has been sentenced to 11 to 22 years in the suffocation death of her 2-month-old son as the two slept in the same bed.

Thirty-year-old Jessica Harper pleaded no contest Monday to third-degree murder and child endangerment charges in the child’s July 2017 death in Fulton Township.

Authorities in Lancaster County said social services workers and the defendant’s pediatrician repeatedly warned her of the dangers of sleeping in the same bed as the infant.

Harper served 85 days following the 2011 asphyxiation death of another 2-month-old child sleeping on a couch at her Maryland home.

Lancaster County Judge Margaret Miller said Harper’s decision not to change her parenting style after the first baby’s death “simply floors me.” Harper said “My kids mean the world to me.”

Miller said Harper “knew it was unsafe” to have the infant sleep with her in a bed.

“But no, you knew better, and no one could tell you different. Well, it has taken two dead babies… for you to finally, I hope, accept that you don’t always know better," she said.


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