Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mom Gets Probation after 2 Sons Overdose on Her Prescription Pills

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mom Gets Probation after 2 Sons Overdose on Her Prescription Pills

Article excerpt

An East McKeesport woman charged with trying to kill her two young sons after they overdosed on her prescription pills while at school pleaded guilty Monday to two lesser counts of child endangerment.

The more serious charges against Samantha Brown, 27, were withdrawn by the Allegheny County District Attorney's office in exchange for the guilty plea.

Ms. Brown will spend five years on probation and must follow orders from the county's family court division on whether she will be permitted contact with her sons.

Ms. Brown was initially charged with 16 offenses, including attempted homicide, aggravated assault and felony drug counts after the boys, then age 8 and 9, collapsed at Propel Braddock Hills Elementary School about 8:35 a.m. March 1.

The 8-year-old was found unresponsive on a hallway floor and was foaming at the mouth. The 9-year-old was described as dazed and also foaming.

They had overdosed on clonazepam, an anti-anxiety medication.

The children initially told school personnel and emergency medical workers that their mother made them take pills.

However, follow-up forensic interviews showed that the children took the medication out of the sealed prescription bottle that was in a drawer of Ms. Brown's dresser. She had a prescription for it.

The endangering count comes from Ms. Brown's failure to properly secure the controlled substance, said assistant district attorney Philip Hong-Barco.

The act was reckless and negligent, he said, but not intentional.

Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani questioned the prosecution about the initial charging decision and why it included attempted homicide based on the facts before him.

"It does appear to be greatly overcharged," he said.

Mr. Hong-Barco answered that the case was charged at first based on the statements made by the boys. …

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