Manslaughter charge stands for Glens Falls mother in infant death case
Posted in In The News on June 16, 2011 by Administrator
But lesser conviction reversed for woman whose baby was killed
By ROBERT GAVIN Staff writer
ALBANY -- The state's highest court has reversed the reckless endangerment conviction of a Glens Falls woman found guilty of causing her eight-month-old son's death in 2007.
But she's still guilty of manslaughter, the Court of Appeals ruled.
Alicia Lewie, now 26, was convicted in June 2008 of two counts of second-degree manslaughter as well as reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.
Jurors found she ignored deadly injuries inflicted on her son, Colbi, by her abusive live-in boyfriend, Michael Flint Jr., who admitted he repeatedly beat the infant.
Flint, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, is serving 22 years in prison.
In 2009, the mid-level Appellate Division of state Supreme Court reversed one of Lewie's two manslaughter counts, citing a lack of evidence.
She hoped to get the remaining manslaughter and reckless endangerment convictions tossed, but succeeded only in the latter charge, the Court of Appeals announced in its decisions Thursday.
The decision noted that several witnesses told Lewie not to leave her baby in the care of Flint. One told her she was "nuts" to allow it. The ruling stated Lewie knew Flint could be "violent and cruel" but did nothing.
On Nov. 12, 2007, Flint called Lewie and said her baby had "fallen in the shower." When she went home, the decision stated, Lewie not only sought no care for Colbi, but lied about his injuries when someone heard an unusual cry from Colbi and noticed he had two black eyes. Lewie claimed the baby was "fine" after a night at a hospital.
He died the next day.
The Court of Appeals found the evidence supported the manslaughter conviction because Lewie knew leaving the baby in Flint's care created a "substantial and unjustifiable" risk he would die.
"The evidence shows that defendant knew, or at least believed it possible, that Flint was hitting, shaking and biting her child," stated the decision, written by Associate Judge Robert Smith. "She knew that he was capable of inflicting significant injury on an adult, herself. She believed him capable of killing a small animal in a rage. She was worried enough to tell Flint that, if he was angry, he should 'shake a teddy bear, not Colbi.' Yet, she left Colbi with Flint again and again -- even after she saw, on November 12 and 13, that Colbi had been seriously hurt."
Associate Judge Theodore Jones dissented, in part. He agreed the reckless endangerment should have been charged, but believed the manslaughter conviction should have been reversed for a lack of evidence.
"It was not possible for defendant to know that the injuries sustained by her child were life-threatening or could contribute to his death because to the naked eye they only appeared to be marks or bruises," he wrote, adding, "hospital personnel were only able to determine the extent of the child's internal injuries after multiple X-rays and blood tests were performed."
Lewie is serving a 5-to-15-year sentence at Albion Correctional Facility.