Grandparents plead guilty to manslaughter; to serve 10 years
The grandparents of an 11-month-old Clark County girl who died after ingesting methadone, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Wednesday morning.
David Black, 42, and Cheryl Kirkwood-Black, 51, were arrested for murder after the child died at their apartment on Oct. 12, 2010. An autopsy determined that the child, Addysen Brooks Mayes, had a toxic level of methadone in her system. Methadone is frequently prescribed to help people overcome heroin addiction.
Prosecutors amended the charges from murder to second-degree manslaughter and recommended a 10-year sentence for each. They are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 1.
In subsequent interviews with police, the Blacks admitted to using methadone and having it in the home, but said they never lost a pill.
The Blacks changed that story before Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue Wednesday.
“A tablet must’ve gotten misplaced and she got a hold of it,” David Black said. He said he didn’t know how the child, whom he described as “the most precious person in my life” found the tablet.
“I wish I did,” David Black said.
“I turned my back on my granddaughter for five minutes,” Cheryl Kirkwood-Black said between sobs. “She got into the… We believe it was dropped.”
The child’s mother, Brooks Ecton, left the child in the Blacks’ care while she went out to celebrate her birthday. When she returned home, she said Mayes was sleeping but breathing strangely.
Ecton was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment. Her trial is scheduled for Nov. 14.
By Fred Petke
The Winchester Sun