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Woman gets probation in child's death

December 29, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

A Chambersburg woman whose infant daughter drowned and twin son was permanently disabled last year in the bathtub of their home was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to six years on probation.

"Certainly, you carry the responsibility for the lack of supervision ... if indeed this is how it happened," Judge Douglas Herman told Jessica R. Bobbette as he sentenced her on three counts of recklessly endangering another person.

"There was evidence you were using alcohol, which may have contributed to what occurred," Herman told Bobbette. "If you had been properly supervising the children, it wouldn't have happened."

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Bobbette, 21, of 300 A S. Second St. had originally been charged with a felony count of endangering the welfare of a child, but pleaded guilty Nov. 10 to the misdemeanor charges, according to court records. She was charged in the Nov. 2, 2004, incident at her former home on Linden Avenue that resulted in the death of 11-month-old Jaliey Aviles and injury to Jahleel Aviles.

Police were called to Bobbette's home at 2:24 p.m. for a report of two infants in cardiac arrest, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Police officers began CPR on the infants, but Jaliey was later pronounced dead and Jahleel was taken to Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center.

Herman said Jahleel sustained "permanent, disabling injuries" and is now in the custody of the juvenile court system and living in a therapeutic foster home.

When police interviewed Bobbette after the drowning, she said she was at home asleep with the twins and two other children, ages 2 and 3, according to the affidavit. She awoke to find her 3-year-old daughter gone from the bedroom, police said.

Bobbette told police she called out for the child and the daughter entered the room carrying one of the infants, who was wet and not breathing, police said. Bobbette called 911 and began trying to revive the infant and a few moments later the daughter carried in the other infant, who was also not breathing, police said.

The investigation indicated the 3-year-old had placed the infant twins in the tub while their mother slept, police said.

Bobbette's attorney, Karl Rominger, said that the police investigation showed that the stopper for the tub was found on a high shelf and that the 3-year-old apparently used a washcloth to plug the drain.

"This is a one-time tragedy for which she is truly contritious and sorry," Rominger said.

Bobbette consented to a blood alcohol test less than two hours after the 911 call, police said. Her blood alcohol level was 0.09 percent, police said.

Bobbette told police she had been up throughout the previous night visiting with family and friends and had not gone to bed until 9 a.m. on Nov. 2. She also admitted to drinking beer over the course of the evening, police said.

Bobbette, who has since given birth to another child, told Herman she has not had any alcohol since the death of Jaliey Aviles and that she and the father of the children have both been in drug and alcohol counseling. She said her two older children are living with relatives.

Herman told her continued testing for drug and alcohol use would be part of her probationary sentence.

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