◼ Loleta mom pleads not guilty to manslaughter charge; mother allegedly passed lethal dose of meth to infant son through breast milk
A 26-year-old Loleta woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegations that she killed her 6-week-old son by feeding him methamphetamine-laced breast milk.
Maggie Jean Wortman stood before Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna clad in a blue jail jumpsuit Tuesday with her hands shackled in front of her and pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felony child endangerment. If convicted on all counts, Wortman faces a maximum prison sentence of nine years.
Wortman was polite and respectful of the court, but reserved, throughout her brief court appearance Tuesday. When Cissna called the next case on his calendar, Wortman sat down and appeared to begin to weep until being led from the courtroom by a bailiff.
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office detectives arrested Wortman at the jail on Friday after a two-month investigation. She was in custody for an alleged probation violation stemming from a conviction for maintaining a residence for drug activities. The investigation spawned after Wortman's son, Michael Phillip Acosta III, was transported to a local hospital because he wasn't breathing on Nov. 21 and was later pronounced dead.
A forensic pathologist who reviewed autopsy and toxicology results on the infant concluded his death was caused by “methamphetamine toxicity.” A subsequent toxicology screen of Wortman's 19-month-old daughter also came back positive for methamphetamine, prompting Child Welfare Services to take her into protective custody.
UPDATE: ◼ Judge dismisses murder charge against Loleta woman - Thadeus Greenson/Times Standard
A Humboldt County judge has dismissed the murder charge facing a Loleta mother accused of killing her baby with methamphetamine-laced breast milk last year.
In a ruling filed Wednesday, Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson threw out the murder charge against Maggie Jean Wortman, 27, finding that no evidence was presented at the case's preliminary hearing to establish that Wortman knew she was endangering her infant son's life when she breastfed him after allegedly smoking methamphetamine.