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Judge Releases Mother Who Confessed to Fatally Smothering 2-Month-Old Daughter While High on Meth So She Can Sleep: ‘You’re Not Innocent, But You’re Not Guilty’

A mother from Indianapolis was found not guilty of neglectfully smothering her child to death, with the judge stating he would have found her guilty of a lesser charge had it been presented, WTHR reported.

Dacia Lacey, 32, was acquitted after Judge Mark Stoner determined that the charges brought against her did not fit the crime she confessed to.

The mother admitted to smothering her two-month-old daughter, Alona, with couch cushions in August 2022 while under the influence of methamphetamines. The tragic incident, she claimed, was an attempt to silence the infant’s persistent cries so she could sleep.

Initially, Lacey claimed to authorities that her daughter’s death was an accidental result of her children playing on the couch. However, five months later, she confessed to deliberately smothering her daughter with couch cushions due to her incessant crying.

Credit: Daily Mail

A 911 recording played in court captured the distressing moment Lacey discovered her child’s death, crying out in despair to the dispatcher. When emergency responders arrived, they could only confirm the tragic outcome. Although meth was found in Lacey’s system, an autopsy could not conclusively determine the cause of death as homicide or trauma.

The trial featured a demonstration by Lacey with a baby doll, explaining her initial version of events that the baby was placed in a rocking swing. Contradicting this account was testimony from Lacey’s five-year-old daughter, who claimed to have seen her mother smother the infant in anger. Despite the child’s vivid account, Judge Stoner questioned its reliability in court due to the child’s age and comprehension.

“That doesn’t mean that (Dacia’s other daughter) is unreliable — it means that (Dacia’s other daughter) is innocent,” Stoner said according to WTHR. “(Dacia’s other daughter) is a 3-year-old. (Dacia’s other daughter) is only capable of hearing emotions, repeating some things without understanding things.”

He further critiqued the prosecutorial decision-making process, suggesting that the choice of charges to be brought against Lacey was flawed.

“Not everything that’s a mistake or everything that is wrong is criminal. Something has to be done with criminal intent, criminal responsibility, and that’s what the defendant is charged with. When the state chooses to charge an individual, they must prove they did something with criminal intent. Poor parenting, by definition, is not criminal,” Stoner said.

“It’s important to understand that the prosecutor chooses the charges. It’s the prosecutor that’s elected. The prosecutor has a screening division to make decisions as to what should be charged,” Stoner added.

The case underwent a bench trial, which means the decision was made solely by a judge, without the involvement of a jury.

In his ruling, Judge Mark Stoner stated, “You’re not innocent, but you’re not guilty of what the state has charged you with. This is a case that happens when you’re a bad parent. There are some things you can never do. You can never have sole possession of your children and go out and use drugs.”

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