Kansas mother convicted of murder for toddler’s methadone ingestion death

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Source: Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office; Unsplash

May. 26 2021, Published 9:07 a.m. ET

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A mother whose baby son died of a methadone overdose in a Kansas motel room almost two years ago has been convicted of first-degree felony murder.

A jury in Wichita deliberated for about two hours on May 24 before reaching the verdict and finding 25-year-old Kimberly Compass guilty.

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On May 31, 2019, Zayden Jaynesahkluah, 2, passed away after ingesting a fatal quantity of prescription methadone his mother used to treat an opioid addiction.

Compass was “reckless” with how she handled three bottles of the prescription drug in her possession, prosecutors argued during trial.

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“It was her methadone that she was responsible that was in [her son’s] system at the time he died,” attorney Kelsey Floyd said, according to KSNW. “She is responsible. She killed him because of her recklessness, and I’m asking you to hold her accountable for that.”

The mother’s defense attorney countered his client didn’t deserve to be charged with murder.

“There are too many questions, too many unanswered questions, too much speculation, and too many what if, is it possible,” Steve Mank told the court. “The state needs to prove each and every element required by law under a reasonable doubt, and they cannot do that in this case.”

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After the guilty verdict was read, the boy’s father, Caleb “Bear” Jaynesahkluah, told reporters he agreed with the jurors’ decision but was “not really relieved” because “I’d just rather have my baby.”

“Had it not been for her actions my son would still be here,” he said, according to The Wichita Eagle. “There was absolutely nothing wrong with him for him to have passed in this manner.”

He added: “In the beginning, when I didn’t know [how he died], I tried to protect her as a grieving mother. But now . . . I’ve got nothing for her."

Compass is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 12. She faces up to a life sentence and wouldn't be parole eligable for 25 years.

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