Humboldt County California prosecutors charge Maggie Jean Wortman with murder of her six week old son who died from methamphetamine poisoning. Authorities say the baby consumed methamphetamine while drinking his mother’s breast milk.
Initially Wortman was charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment but last week the prosecutor upped the charges to second degree murder. Second degree murder requires malice aforethought or “an abandoned and malignant heart.” An abandoned and malignant heart” is defined as “reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk of death.”
Prosecutors be ware: the only person convicted of second degree murder in California for transmitting methamphetamine to a baby in breast feeding, Any Leanne Priem, had her conviction reversed by an appellate court.
It is unlikely that prosecutors will claim that Wortman showed malice aforethought since there is no evidence that she wanted to kill the child.
But it is going to be almost as difficult to prove “reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk of death.” First they are going to have to show that Wortman knew that methamphetamine in breast milk could be transmitted to a child in breast milk and that she knew that methamphetamine could kill a child. The district attorney will also have to prove that Wortman’s addiction gave her a choice to use or not use the drug. If she was so addicted to methamphetamine that she had no choice but to take methamphetamine she was not reckless.
But the one thing for sure is that meth is no good for you whether or not you are breast feeding a child.