OLYMPIA - A Thurston County woman has pleaded guilty to two felonies and faces up to four years in prison for putting a Percocet pill in her 9-month-old daughter's formula bottle last year because the infant was "cranky as hell and would not sleep," according to court papers.
Aliese Marie Gatlin, 20, was put in custody at the end of Friday’s court hearing before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Pomeroy. Gatlin pleaded guilty under an Alford plea to second-degree assault of a child and first-degree criminal mistreatment. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but it is equivalent to a guilty plea in the eyes of the law.
Gatlin’s daughter has recovered; she had been hospitalized after ingesting the Percocet, Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dominique Jinhong said Friday. Jinhong added that the baby is in the custody of a paternal aunt.
Pomeroy had the option of allowing Gatlin to remain out of jail until her sentencing next week. Pomeroy ordered Gatlin into custody after hearing from Jinhong that Gatlin had been expelled from a parenting-accountability group that Child Protective Services had ordered her to complete. She was expelled because she failed to take any responsibility for her daughter’s hospitalization, Jinhong said.
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According to court papers:
Gatlin’s daughter was flown Oct. 22 to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma because she had stopped breathing. Medics had to insert a line into the baby’s bone marrow because her veins had collapsed.
Gatlin, who was at her home in the 8500 block of Joyce Court in the Yelm area when the baby stopped breathing, called 911. She initially told medical professionals that someone else must have drugged her baby.
During testing at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, the infant tested positive for opiates, which could have been derived from Percocet, and for benzodiazepines, a family of sedatives that includes Xanax.
Gatlin gave a taped statement Nov. 16 admitting to giving her child Percocet. Percocet is a narcotic pain reliever that contains oxycodone.
During an interview with a Thurston County sheriff’s deputy, Gatlin admitted she was heavily involved with drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
Gatlin said the baby’s father was abusive and had committed suicide in September 2009 by shooting himself in the head.
Gatlin said the days leading up to her daughter’s hospitalization were “foggy.” She “stated she did not think about whether or not the medication was harmful to a baby.”
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 firstname.lastname@example.org