Recently, a St. Charles, Missouri, woman was incarcerated in connection with the death of her 15-month-old nephew. Now, she is facing the possibility of being convicted of very serious felony crimes. Since her arrest, she has entered a plea of not guilty due to insanity. In a few months trial proceedings for the 2011 incident will continue.

According to the prosecutors assigned to the 35-year-old woman's case, she was swimming during the time she was supposed to be taking care of her young nephew. Eventually, the woman's teenage daughter found the boy lying near the pool, unresponsive to attempts to rouse him. Emergency service workers arrived to provide treatment, but the boy passed away at the scene. The incident report also insinuates that the woman was consuming alcohol while she was babysitting.

The evidence law enforcement officers and prosecutors are able to gather will determine exactly what criminal charge will be brought against the woman. The potential felony charges the woman could be dealing with include: second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. All of those crimes carry stiff penalties in the state of Missouri.

Pleading insanity is a defense that is traditionally met with limited success, because it is such a bold move. The defense has a significant burden to prove that the woman is not guilty because a mental condition clouded her judgment at the time of the incident. Hopefully, the Missouri woman and her attorney consulted and carefully determined that this was the best option for her defense. In cases that the insanity defense is successful, individuals usually spend time in a mental health facility, rather than prison. This case is a reminder of how important it is to work closely with your legal representative when dealing with serious legal charges.

Source: KDSK-TV, "Erin Lottman to enter insanity plea in child death case," Kevin Held, Mar. 13, 2012