Lacey grandma pleads not guilty to manslaughter in 1-year-old's methadone death

Staff writerJanuary 6, 2014 

Tami Roughton

BY JEREMY PAWLOSKI

A Lacey woman pleaded not guilty to manslaughter Monday in connection with allegedly providing or allowing her 1-year-old grandson access to methadone, causing his death in November 2012.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon set Tami Roughton's bail at $20,000 during her arraignment Monday. Roughton, 54, is charged with first-degree manslaughter, or in the alternative, second-degree manslaughter with aggravating circumstances, according to charging documents filed in December.

On Nov. 23, 2012, Roughton's grandson, Aydehn Lee Joseph "Joe-Joe" White, was pronounced dead after medics responded to Roughton's home in the 4900 block of Sheridan Street in Lacey.

Initially, investigators believed the baby's death was due to a prior medical condition. But after an autopsy, the coroner determined that the cause of death was "acute methadone intoxication."

A Lacey police investigation revealed that Roughton was the only person in the home with access to methadone, court papers state. Additionally, police learned that in 2006, Roughton was investigated by Child Protective Services for allegedly administering methadone to her own daughter through a milk bottle. Roughton denied the accusation, according to court papers.

In December 2012, Roughton told a detective that she did "feel responsible" for her grandson's death, but she denied allowing him access to methadone, court papers state.

Lacey police charged Roughton with manslaughter last month, but she was unable to come to court until Monday because she was in a hospital, and her medical condition prevented her from leaving, a Lacey police spokesman has said.

Court papers allege that Roughton is a known heroin dealer who, as of 2012, "was selling ounces of heroin weekly at multiple bars throughout Olympia."

 

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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