Babysitter pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of infant
Mellissa Garland pleaded guilty to manslaughter Tuesday in connection with the death of a five-month-old infant she was babysitting.
In August 2010, Brooklyne Hopkins was rushed to hospital, where she died of her injuries the next day.
Garland was initially charged with failing to provide the necessities of life, but the charge was later upgraded to second-degree murder after further investigation.
According to defence lawyer Rhonda Fawcett, Garland pleaded guilty to manslaughter in order to avoid a trial.
Tuesday morning in a Woodstock court, the details of the events leading up to Hopkins’ death in Garland’s Ingersoll townhouse were made public for the first time.
Court heard that Garland was at the top of a staircase, holding Hopkins, when she lost her balance due to her cat running between her legs.
As Garland reached for the wall to steady herself, court heard, Hopkins fell from out of her arms, down the stairs and onto the living room floor.
Garland has said Hopkins appeared OK after the fall.
After consoling Hopkins, court was told that Garland began to play ‘airplane’ with the infant and accidentally let go, sending her into either a wall along the staircase or a desk that was along the wall.
Fawcett says Garland is remorseful about what happened and has not been in trouble with law enforcement while out of custody since the incident.
“My client coming forward and pleading today … much of that had to do with her remorse, wanting the family to know what had happened.”
Sentencing will take place in January.