A Morganton woman received no prison time on Monday after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the freezing death of her toddler son.
Landyn Melton died of hypothermia on the front porch of his family’s home the morning after his third birthday celebration in March, prosecutors said.
His mother, 24-year-old Jamie Lyn Basinger, was given a suspended sentence of 19 to 32 months, with 3 years of supervised probation in Burke County Superior Court, the Burke County District Attorney’s Office said.
Judge Nathaniel Poovey ordered Basinger to undergo a substance abuse assessment and comply with all conditions, perform 72 hours of community service and comply with all Department of Social Services orders regarding her other child. Basinger spent eight months in jail.
Basinger’s drug use on the day she was supposed to be watching her son, and on the previous two days, led to Landyn’s death, assistant district attorney Michelle Lippert told the judge. “While she was passed out inside the home, by her own admission sleeping harder than normal, Landyn was freezing to death,” Lippert said.
Landyn was found just before 8 a.m. March 15. After celebrating his birthday, Landyn got out of the house during the night but could not get back inside, sheriff’s investigators said. The child’s smudged fingerprints were found on the glass storm door, “consistent with his attempt to get back inside the house,” according to the the district attorney’s office.
Melton and her boyfriend had smoked methamphetamine two days before, and admitted smoking marijuana the night Landyn was in the house and later died, prosecutors said. The couple were passed out in the house when officers repeatedly banged on the door after finding the child.
A drug test confirmed the presence of multiple drugs in Basinger’s system that night, prosecutors said.