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Posted at 7:40 AM ET, 12/28/2010

20 yrs. in Va. boy's methadone death

By The Roanoke Times

A Pulaski woman has begun serving a 20-year prison sentence after her 3-year-old son died from drinking a cup of methadone that she left unattended.

Thirty-nine-year-old Lisa Michelle Hylton was sentenced Dec. 20 to 10 years each for second-degree murder and felony child neglect.

Her attorney, Wade McNichols, told the Roanoke Times Monday that she hasn't decided whether to appeal.

Hylton testified she illegally bought the methadone on the street to try to curtail symptoms as she withdrew from a prescription painkiller addiction.

After the child drank the methadone in September of 2009, Hylton waited more than 15 hours before taking him to a hospital because a judge had ordered her not to have drugs in her home.

Testimony showed he had ingested enough methadone to kill an adult.

By The Roanoke Times  | December 28, 2010; 7:40 AM ET
Categories:  Virginia  
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Comments

my stomach just tightend when i read this......i feel sick :(

Posted by: nall92 | December 28, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

What a sad indictment on the society that "We The People" created for this country, where a mother is more concerned about how she will be punished because she has drugs in her house, (drugs she is using to try to help herself)..than trying to get help for her child.

Selfish you might say, NO...she is frightened of The State, The Government, The Country, The Judge because this is how "We The People" make others feel living today in this country and for that "We The People" punish her with 20yrs in Prison.

Welcome to the Future of this Country and may God have mercy on your souls - "We The People" have created a very sick and most oppressive society in the name of Freedom.

Posted by: Wind_Walker | December 28, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@Wind_Walker: Call the Village because 2 more idiots are loose. How dare you excuse that woman's selfish actions with your twisted rationale. That same "government, state, country and judge" to which you refer provide services that would/may have avoided this needless and horrific death. The fact that the mother wasn't in jail instead of home with her child is hardly an indictment of her fear but a misused opportunity. Both you and her make me sick.

Posted by: flabbergast | December 28, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Wind_Talker, I changed your name to "wind passer", because you are merely a bag of methane crying over some drug addict whose kid should have been taken away from her in the first place.

Posted by: madmike272 | December 28, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

There is no other advanced Western democracy that would have given this person such heavy prison time.

America puts SEVEN times more of its citizens in prison than Canada and Western Europe. We put more of our citizens in jail than even Russia and China do.

And it wasn't always this way. America's incarceration rates were comparable to Europe's until 1972. Then they skyrocketed ... as soon as our politicians figured out that being "tough on crime" was a sure ticket to re-election, and they started competing with each other to be "tougher than the other guy." Sad.

Posted by: vfr2dca | December 28, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

There is no other advanced Western democracy that would have given this person such heavy prison time.

America puts SEVEN times more of its citizens in prison than Canada and Western Europe. We put more of our citizens in jail than even Russia and China do.

And it wasn't always this way. America's incarceration rates were comparable to Europe's until 1972. Then they skyrocketed ... as soon as our politicians figured out that being "tough on crime" was a sure ticket to re-election, and they started competing with each other to be "tougher than the other guy." Sad.

Posted by: vfr2dca | December 28, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

This sad case is just more evidence that the War on Drugs is a miserable and utter failure.

Posted by: rcupps | December 28, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

vfr2dca,
We put more people into the prison system because they actually make it to prison. China and Russia simply shoot them.
If you think I or virtually anyone else cares what Canada or Western Europe does with criminals you're mistaken.
Bottom line...if you commit a crime then you do so with the understanding that if caught you'll face the consequences.
If you don't want to face the consequences then don't commit the crime...it really is that simple.
How anyone can have sympathy for the woman, who through her own selfishness, lost a child to drugs after she herself got hooked on them in beyond me.
Maybe we should follow China's and Russia's lead in cases like this one...

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | December 28, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to believe the commenters who excuse this homicide on the grounds that Ms. Hylton was justifiably too frightened of the State and the harsh sentence it would impose on her to seek medical attention for a toddler dying from her own neglect.

Perhaps she merely expected that, with folks like you on the jury, she'd get off entirely.

Posted by: Itzajob | December 28, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Her 3-year-old son died from drinking a cup of methadone.

Replace 'methadone' w/alcohol, benadryl, draino, pain killers, kerosene, etc. - all of which can be fatal when left in the hands of a small child.

No sympathy for the parent here. She was negligent in exposing her child to a lethal substance, leaving her child unattended and waiting 15 hours before seeking medical attention.

Unfortunately, VA taxpayers will be on the hook for her stupidity for the next 20 years.

Posted by: anela_jett | December 28, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

3 years old and the poor innocent child never had a chance, unlike his drug addicted mother.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 28, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The mother should have been convicted of a crime, BUT the sentence is absolutely harsh. This is not a case of murder in the legal sense -- where the killing was intentional. Instead, it is manslaughter (at most).

A DUI homicide in this instance would probably draw a few years, if that. The sentence results because society wants to shame her for being a "bad mother" and a "drug addict." But the legal system punishes criminal behavior, not statuses.

PS: Do not accuse me of trying to "excuse" the mother's actions. I said she deserved conviction. The sentence, however, is too long.

Posted by: darrren12000 | December 29, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

PS: a further sign that the judge was overly harsh: the sentences are consecutive rather than concurrent. She is basically serving 2 sentences for the same conduct.

Posted by: darrren12000 | December 29, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

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