Woman gets pro­ba­tion for man­slaugh­ter

De­catur mom pleaded guilty in death of her 2-month-old son

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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.

Sul­li­van

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