A mother from South Carolina was sentenced Thursday to just five years in prison for killing her 4-day-old son Lewis by putting him in a refrigerator. Angela Renee Blackwell, 28, pleaded guilty to infliction of great bodily harm for the hypothermia death of her child, People reports.
Blackwell’s sentence was reduced from a more serious one -- homicide by child abuse -- because of her IQ. According to WSOC-TV, she has an IQ of 58 and prosecutors didn’t believe that the crime, which happened in early 2016, was calculated.
“This child never had a chance,” South Carolina Sixth Circuit Deputy Solicitor Candice Lively told People.
On Feb. 27, 2016, Blackwell put her son in the fridge for approximately three hours. According to an arrest warrant, she brought her infant to a hospital where he was declared dead. A coroner pointed to hypothermia by asphyxiation for the death of Lewis.
Blackwell’s lawyer, Mike Lifsey, asked for probation on Thursday, calling his client’s behavior out of character and describing her as a “very childlike woman in a very difficult circumstance.”
“This is the only case I’ve ever had involving a child where the perpetrator has, herself, the mind of a child,” he told the News & Reporter, adding that he doesn’t believe Blackwell had any malice. He said Blackwell “came from a very difficult background, abject poverty, and special education all through school. She lived with her husband and eight other people under 'filthy' and 'deplorable conditions.'"
In fact, their home was in such a poor condition that the Department of Social Services has been called in even before the death of Lewis. Blackwell and her husband have an older child, who is currently in the care of family members.
[Photo: Chester County Sheriff’s Office]