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Maggie Wortman pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on Monday, bringing the meth breast milk case one step closer to its end. The California mother was charged in the death of her 6-week-old son, who died of methamphetamine toxicity in November 2010.
The child had ingested Wortman's breast milk after she smoked the drug. Prosecutors believe medical professionals warned her of the dangers when she tested positive for meth while 6 months pregnant.
The plea also covers a parole violation and a misdemeanor child endangerment charge from 2009, reports the Times-Standard of Eureka.
Prosecutors were able to extract the plea deal with threat of harsher punishment. The District Attorney planned to re-file and charge Maggie Wortman with murder if the parties did not reach an agreement. Murder carries a sentence of 15 years to life in California.
Wortman ended up agreeing to the deal, which includes a sentence ranging anywhere from probation up to almost 12 years in jail, explains the Times-Standard. A judge will decide the exact meth breast milk punish in a hearing scheduled for March 5.
It's difficult to say just where that sentence will fall. It will likely include some jail, as this was not an accidental death. She was ingesting drugs both while pregnant and breastfeeding. Even if her son died of some other cause, she was still being reckless towards his care.
Maggie Wortman also has a criminal history, having been on parole. This will almost certainly factor into the judge's decision. She not only violated the law when she smoked meth, but violated the terms of her release.
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