Judge Frees Mother Who Confessed to Fatally Smothering 2-Month-Old Daughter While High on Meth: ‘You’re Not Innocent, But You’re Not Guilty’

WTHR reported that a mother from Indianapolis has been acquitted of the charge of negligently smothering her child to death. The judge specified that if a lesser charge had been presented, he might have found her guilty.

Dacia Lacey, 32, was found not guilty by Judge Mark Stoner, who ruled that the charges against her did not align with the crime she admitted to committing.

The mother confessed to using couch cushions to smother her two-month-old daughter, Alona, in August 2022 while under the influence of methamphetamines. She described the tragic event as an effort to quiet the baby’s incessant cries so she could get some sleep.

Initially, Lacey told authorities that her daughter’s death was an accidental outcome of her children playing on the couch. However, five months later, she admitted to intentionally smothering her daughter with couch cushions because of her non-stop crying.

In court, a 911 recording was played, capturing the heartbreaking moment when Lacey found her child’s lifeless body and cried out in despair to the dispatcher. Despite the arrival of emergency responders, they could only confirm the tragic outcome. While meth was detected in Lacey’s system, the autopsy couldn’t definitively determine whether the cause of death was homicide or trauma.

During the trial, Lacey used a baby doll to demonstrate her initial story that the baby was placed in a rocking swing. However, her five-year-old daughter testified, contradicting this version by claiming to have witnessed her mother smothering the infant in anger. Although the child provided a detailed account, Judge Stoner questioned its credibility in court, citing the child’s young age and level of understanding.

“That doesn’t mean that (Dacia’s other daughter) is unreliable — it means that (Dacia’s other daughter) is innocent,” judge Stoner said. “(Dacia’s other daughter) is a 3-year-old. (Dacia’s other daughter) is only capable of hearing emotions, repeating some things without understanding things.”

He went on to criticize the process by which prosecutors made decisions, suggesting that their selection of charges against Lacey was flawed.

“Not everything that’s a mistake or everything that is wrong is criminal. Something has to be done with criminal intent, criminal responsibility, and that’s what the defendant is charged with. When the state chooses to charge an individual, they must prove they did something with criminal intent. Poor parenting, by definition, is not criminal,” Stoner said.

“It’s important to understand that the prosecutor chooses the charges. It’s the prosecutor that’s elected. The prosecutor has a screening division to make decisions as to what should be charged,” Stoner added.

The case went through a bench trial, where the decision was made by a judge alone, without a jury being involved.

In his ruling, Judge Mark Stoner stated, “You’re not innocent, but you’re not guilty of what the state has charged you with. This is a case that happens when you’re a bad parent. There are some things you can never do. You can never have sole possession of your children and go out and use drugs.”

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By Hunter Fielding
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David Nichols
David Nichols
1 month ago

They all hate their hair.

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