DA: Mother sentenced after infant son died while sleeping in the same bed

jessica harper.jpg

A Fulton Township mother has been sentenced to prison after pleading no contest to third-degree murder of her infant son.

Jessica Marie Harper, 30, will serve 11-22 years for the July 2016 death of her 2-month-old after he died of asphyxiation while he slept in a bed with his mother, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.

The boy was the second child of Harper's to die from asphyxiation. According to the DA's office, another son, also 2-months-old, died in Maryland after being left to fall asleep on a couch in 2011.

During the court proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Fritz Haverstick pointed out that medical professionals and social services workers repeatedly told Harper that co-sleeping was dangerous for a child.

According to the DA's office, Harper told a physician’s assistant, “I understand. I am going to co-sleep anyway.”

Harper also pleaded no contest on child endangerment charges.



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