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Mother gets 10-year sentence in childs death
0620 Summer Shelley
Summer Shelley

An Effingham County woman who fell asleep on top of her toddler last year has pled guilty to cruelty to children in the second degree.

Summer Shelley received a 10-year prison term after entering a guilty plea last Thursday. She also received five years probation to serve consecutively for making false statements.

Shelley was arrested June 2014 for the April death of her 5-month-old child Payton Ward. On April 26, 2014, deputies went to an Appaloosa Way home on the report of a child not breathing. During the investigation, detectives found drugs and drug-related objects inside the home. The child was pronounced dead at a local hospital a short time later.

According to the indictment, handed down Sept. 15, 2014, Shelley left her child unattended after she smoked pot and fell asleep. Shelley was asleep for several hours and woke up on top of her child. She also failed to provide nebulizer treatment for her child. Shelley admitted to knowing on the night of April 25 that her daughter needed to see a doctor. But “she chose instead to get high and lay down with the baby” and did not wake up until several hours later, according to Effingham County Sheriff’s Office investigators.

Shelley pled not guilty on Nov. 3, 2014 to two counts of cruelty to children in the second degree, making false statements, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and possession of a drug-related object.

She was given 12 months probation, to serve concurrently with her other probation term, on the drug charges. Shelley faced a maximum of 25 years in prison.