Mother Distracted By Facebook and Games, Son Tragically Drowns

Shannon Johnson of Colorado sentenced to 10 years in prison for letting her son drown while she was distracted by Facebook

Yesterday, a woman from Colorado was sentenced to 10 years in prison when she was found guilty of neglect causing death. Thirty-four year-old Shannon Johnson of Fort Lupton was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old baby drowned in a bathtub, according to the Associated Press.

Official court documents say that Johnson put her son in the bathtub just after 8:30 p.m. on September 20, and then left him unsupervised to share videos and status updates and to play the game Cafe World. When she returned to the bathroom, she found her son faced down in the water. She called 911 and although paramedics were able to revive the toddler, he was pronounced dead at the Denver hospital.

Johnson told police the boy “wanted to be left alone” and was a very “independent baby.” She also said she didn’t want to boy to be a “mama’s boy,” and that she bathed him everyday and that she’d been leaving him alone in the tub for weeks.

Although Johnson told authorities that her son had suffered a seizure a month earlier,  the final autopsy report showed that the baby had died from anoxic brain injury, cardiac arrest and drowning. In March, Johnson pled guilty to negligence causing death, a charge that usually carries a sentence of four to 12 years.

District Judge Thomas Quammen found Johnson’s act criminal, though he said he didn’t think Johnson intended to harm the infant. Johnson cried as the judge condemned her: “You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games,” said Quammen, “and you left that 13-month-old human being, little Joseph, incredibly for those reasons.”

He sentenced her to ten years in prison and five years of mandatory parole after she serves her time.

Image via CBC

Publish date: April 17, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT