A Hamilton mother was sentenced to prison Tuesday morning for the death of her infant who was smothered when she rolled over on her while asleep after drug usage.
Saralin Walden, 25, of Jeff Scott Lane, pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter for the death of 3-month-old Rae’Anna on Oct. 23, 2018. A charge of child endangering was dismissed.
Judge Charles Pater said he did not find Walden was a candidate for community control and sentenced her to five years in prison. She faced a maximum of 11 years.
Before sentencing, defense attorney Ramona Daniels said Walden was exposed to drug usage at an early age.
“She still has her future ahead of her, she is highly motivated to maintain a level of sobriety not just her but for the memory of her child,” Daniels said, adding Walden has another young child who loves her and his “still very connected to her.”
Daniels also noted programs in which Walden has participated to better herself since she has been in jail.
Emotional statements were also given by grandmothers on both sides.
Judy Walden, Walden’s grandmother, said Walden’s 3-year-old daughter wants her mother to come home.
“Sara’s not a bad girl, she just got caught up in the drugs,” Judy Walden said. “I just don’t want to see her locked up for years and see her be away from her family.”
Kim Cramer, maternal grandmother of Rae’Anna, said Walden didn’t make much effort to be a mother.
“If Sara does stay out, it scares me for her other child,” Cramer said, added Walden had several chances to get treatment and didn’t. “We lost a preciously little 3-month-old who didn’t have a chance to ask for help.”
Walden sobbed as she told the judge she has been an addict for years.
“I just want a chance to be able to do it right, you know,” Walden said.
Walden has remained housed in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond since her indictment in March, so those days will be counted as time served.
Earlier this year, the defense filed motions related to Walden’s mental state at the time of the incident. In addition to competency, a “not guilty by reason of insanity” plea also was filed.
After reviewing a forensic psychological evaluation, Pater ruled in June that Walden was competent and the insanity plea would not move forward.
Prosecutors say Walden was using “illegal substances either at the time of or within close proximity to the time of her caring for her child, and passed out and/or fell asleep on top of the infant suffocating the infant,” according to court documents.
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.