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SAN FRANCISCO: A Northern California woman has been accused of knowingly killing her infant son by breastfeeding him shortly after ingesting large amounts of methamphetamine.

Maggie Jean Wortmon, 26, has been charged with second-degree murder – punishable by 15 years to life in prison – along with child abuse and involuntary manslaughter.

The charges stem from the death of her six-week-old son, Michael, who was found unresponsive in November in the town of Loleta.

The baby was pronounced dead at a hospital and was later discovered to have methamphetamine in his system. This year, Wortmon was charged with child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter.

But earlier this week a charge of murder was added, after prosecutors said Wortmon had shown ”conscious disregard”.

”I think that her conduct is, or was, so intentionally reckless that it rises to the level of implied malice,” said Ben McLaughlin, a deputy district attorney in Humboldt County. ”And I think that a mother who is breast-feeding using the quantity of methamphetamine she did, I think that rises to a second-degree murder charge.”

M.C. Bruce, a lawyer for Wortmon, rejected that accusation, saying she was an addict, not a killer, and the murder charge ”makes her out to be a terrible, horrible person who needs to be locked away for the rest of her life”.

The New York Times

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