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Mother who smothered baby gets 3-15 years

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A South Charleston mother who passed out on her infant daughter's body and smothered her to death during an alcohol and drug binge received on Thursday the maximum sentence allowed under the law.

Leslie Erin Boggs, 26, will spend three to 15 years in prison and be subject to three years of supervision after her release, Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib ruled. Boggs pleaded guilty in February to child neglect resulting in death.

Assistant Kanawha County prosecutor Dan Holstein said Thursday that South Charleston police conducted an extensive investigation that showed a history of severe alcohol and drug abuse, which led Boggs to black out and pass out on the body of her 3-month-old daughter, Raynna, on May 10, 2010.

Boggs' boyfriend, Thomas Andrew Myers, found the baby's legs sticking out from under Boggs' body. The baby's face was pushed in and she was blue, evidence showed.

Michael Del Giudice, Boggs' attorney, argued that Boggs was an intelligent woman, but subject to manipulation by those around her. He argued that she should be placed on probation and home confinement so she could undergo an extensive drug-treatment program.

Zakaib balked at that argument. He said Boggs was put on home confinement to await sentencing after pleading guilty in February and, within hours, went out and got drunk and high.

The judge also noted that Boggs showed no remorse and took no responsibility for her actions in documents submitted to the court.

"The court cannot entertain the idea of putting you on probation," Zakaib said. "That is not an option."

Zakaib said Boggs knew she had a drug and alcohol problem before the night she killed her daughter, and did nothing about them.

He sentenced her to the maximum sentence and ordered an extra three years of supervision after Boggs is released. Boggs will not be eligible for parole for at least three years.

Holstein said the one thing that should have awakened Boggs to her drug and alcohol addiction was the death of her child. Instead, she went out and got drunk at the first opportunity.

"It just reflects the attitude that she had," he said.

Holstein presented no victim-impact statement at Boggs' sentencing because, he said, no one cared enough to speak out on Raynna's behalf. He said Boggs' friends and relatives supported her, and not the baby.

"It's an awful feeling," Holstein said, "but we take serious, children and what happens to them." Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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