A heroin-addicted Austell mother will serve a decade in prison for the death of her infant son, who died from asphyxiation after being placed face-down in bed.
Lalonie Vanessa Troup, 33, pleaded guilty at the beginning of August to involuntary manslaughter and other charges in relation to the death of her 4-month-old son Zion Kingston Troup on Dec. 1, 2017.
Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes said Zion was born addicted to drugs at a Marietta hospital in July 2017, as Troup used heroin while pregnant with him.
Troup’s mother, Zion’s grandmother, was awarded custody of him in November of that year, after Troup was discovered unconscious behind the wheel of a car at The Battery Atlanta in Cumberland with an unrestrained Zion in the back seat, Holmes stated in a news release Thursday.
“Troup was arrested at that time for possession of heroin, and Zion was taken into protective custody by detectives with the Cobb Police Crimes Against Children Unit,” Holmes said, adding that Troup continued to test positive for opiates while being monitored by the Department of Family and Children Services.
On the day of Zion’s death, almost two years ago, Troup was staying at her mother’s house in Marietta and was under orders not to have unsupervised contact with her son.
Despite this, she took him from his bed in her mother’s room and put him in bed with her, placing him face down surrounded by blankets and pillows, Holmes’ news release stated.
This resulted in his death as he was unable to breathe, the DA’s office said.
“Infants should always be placed on their backs when sleeping, without items that could obstruct their airway, and Troup had received such parenting instructions from DFCS,” Holmes’ news release stated. “Though Troup gave conflicting stories of how long Zion was in the bed and when he was last breathing, when EMTs arrived he was clearly deceased and no life-saving measures were attempted.”
The DA’s office said Troup pleaded guilty on Aug. 2 to charges of involuntary manslaughter, cruelty to children in the second degree and reckless conduct, as well as three counts of heroin possession.
On Wednesday afternoon, after an emotional sentencing hearing, Cobb Superior Court Judge Gregory Poole sentenced Troup to 20 years, with 10 years to serve in prison and the rest on probation, the DA’s office said.
“Zion had many people advocating for him from the time of his birth until the time of his death,” assistant district attorney Katie Gropper said. “Safeguards and orders were put in place to keep him safe, but Ms. Troup ignored them. This case is every child advocate’s worst nightmare and a heartbreaking example of the trail of destruction a heroin addict can cause.”
Jail records show Troup has spent 620 days in custody in the county jail since being arrested on Jan. 21, 2018.
She will get credit for time served, the DA’s office said.
Help is available for those dealing with drug addiction. The Zone is one Cobb organization where people can get help to find treatment. It is located at 32 Fairground St. in Marietta and the telephone number is 770-693-5982.