Woman gets probation for manslaughter
Decatur mom pleaded guilty in death of her 2-month-old son
BENTONVILLE — A Decatur woman was placed on probation for eight years on Thursday for causing the death of her 2- month- old son.
Molly Sullivan pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April. She admitted to recklessly causing her son’s death.
She appeared in court for sentencing Thursday where Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren ordered Sullivan placed on probation.
Bryan Sexton, deputy prosecutor, wanted prison time for Sullivan.
“We initially reached an agreement with the defendant that would have required the defendant to go to prison for recklessly causing the death of her child,” Sexton said. “We still feel that would have been the appropriate resolution. The court, as is its prerogative, required that a lesser sentence of probation be imposed.”
Sexton said he respected the court’s ruling.
“This was a sad case for everyone involved,” said Candice Smith, Sullivan’s attorney. “There were definitely mitigating factors present, which the judge considered in his sentencing, and I
believe this was an appropriate resolution of the case.”
Benton County Sheriff ’s Office detectives Brandon Dill and Joe Adams investigated the death at 23632 Coon Hollow Road in Decatur, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Sullivan called 911 at 11:21 a.m. Oct. 28 to report her son wasn’t breathing, according to the affidavit.
Sullivan said in a statement she woke up at 8:30 a.m. and heard her son grunting. She made him a bottle and fed him, changed his diaper, rocked him back to sleep and placed him in his playpen, according to the affidavit.
Sullivan said she fell asleep on the couch, and after she woke she heard her other two children playing. Sullivan said she discovered her son, who was in the playpen, was blue
and purple. She called 911 and did CPR after being directed by a dispatcher.
Benton County Coroner Daniel Oxford asked Sullivan to reconstruct how she found her son. Oxford gave her a doll to demonstrate how she placed her son in the playpen after she fed him.
Sullivan placed the doll on its back, according to court documents. Sullivan said her son was alive the last time she saw him, and he was on his back before she called 911, according to the affidavit.
Sullivan told detectives there was a couch pillow in the playpen when she found her son, but the pillow wasn’t on top of him. Sullivan said she threw couch pillows in the area near the playpen and might have accidentally thrown one into the playpen, according to the affidavit.
Karren ordered Sullivan to take parenting classes and be evaluated for drugs and alcohol. She also must pay $1,920 in court costs. Sullivan faces up to 10 years in prison if she fails to abide by the terms of her probation.