Lewie manslaughter conviction in death of baby upheld
Posted in In The News on June 20, 2011 by Administrator
The state's highest court has upheld the manslaughter conviction of a former Greenwich woman in the 2007 death of her infant son.
The state Court of Appeals on Thursday dismissed a reckless endangerment conviction against Alicia C. Lewie, but upheld her conviction for second-degree manslaughter.
The ruling will likely not affect the 5- to 15-year state prison sentence Lewie is serving on the manslaughter charge. The sentence on the reckless endangerment count was being served concurrently.
Lewie, 26, was found guilty of failing to safeguard her 7-month-old son, Colbi Bullock, in the days before his October 2007 death at the hands of her boyfriend, Michael Flint.
Lewie did not seek medical care for the baby, despite his injuries from days of beatings and biting he endured from Flint.
The court was split in a 5-2 vote and issued two opinions totalling 27 pages on the case.
The main issue on appeal was the evidence against Lewie and whether it was sufficient to convict her of acting recklessly and causing the child's death.
"As to both counts, the critical question is what the evidence shows as to defendant's state of mind when, over a period of six weeks, she repeatedly left her baby with the man who abused and eventually killed him," Judge Robert Smith wrote.
The court's majority pointed out that Lewie lied about whether an obviously injured Colbi had been treated medically in the days before his death.
"Defendant not only sought no care for the baby; there was evidence that she tried to conceal the injuries," Smith wrote.
The court found that Lewie knew and disregarded the risk of death for Colbi from the abuse.
But it also found the evidence did not support the conclusion that Lewie had the "depraved indifference for human life" needed for a first-degree reckless endangerment conviction.
The appeal also focused on the behavior of a juror who sent the court a note calling an assistant district attorney a "cutie." Judge John Hall "skillfully" handled the issue, according to the court, and it did not warrant a reversal of the verdict.
Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said she was heartened that the high court upheld her office's decisions in the case, particularly in choosing manslaughter over "depraved indifference" second-degree murder.
"Obviously, this decision bore out that analysis," she said.
Lewie's lawyer for the appeals, Matthew Hug, called the decision a "Pyrrhic victory" because, even though the reckless endangerment conviction was dropped, there was little likelihood of a lesser sentence for Lewie.
He said the high court's ruling probably ends Lewie's appeals, although she could hire a lawyer to pursue an action seeking to overturn the conviction in federal court.
Lewie will return to Warren County court in the coming months for resentencing, although Hall will not be legally obligated to lessen the sentence. No date has been set.
Flint pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is serving 22 years to life in prison.