The parents of a 25-day-old baby who died last year as the result of exposure to methamphetamine both pled guilty to felony murder Tuesday in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.
Robert William Wescott, 51, and Heather Louann Black, 31, both accepted responsibility for the death of infant Caden Wescott, who died in a room at the Lake Anna Lodge on Courthouse Road. A medical examiner ruled that the child died as the result of methamphetamine toxicity.
A felony murder charge results from an unintentional death that occurs during the commission of another felony offense. The charge carries a potential 40-year prison sentence, but the couple will each receive no more than 12 years as part of the plea agreements worked out by prosecutor Amanda Sweeney and defense attorneys John Mayoras and Patricia Bolen.
According to police and the evidence presented by Sweeney, the couple was staying at the motel on April 17, 2021, when Black asked Wescott to get some methamphetamine. Wescott went to a nearby location, where he traded some pocket knives for the drugs.
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Wescott smoked his portion outside, while Black used her drugs in the bathroom, court records state. With them at the time was Caden and another child who was just under 1 year old.
Wescott was in the bathroom getting ready for work the next morning, and Black brought the unresponsive child to him. The parents called 911 and performed CPR in an attempt to get the child to start breathing, but were unsuccessful.
Rescue workers arrived and the child was declared deceased. The parents admitted to using drugs, but they said the child was not breastfed and they were not sure how the baby got a lethal amount of methamphetamine in his system. The infant slept in the bed with his parents.
An autopsy showed no trauma to the child’s body of any other obvious causes of death. He did have methamphetamine in his system, which the medical examiner said can cause a fatal “cardiac arrhythmia and circulatory system collapse” in certain cases.
The couple is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 28. As part of their plea agreements, several other charges were dropped.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404