STEUBENVILLE – A police prosecutor said a city woman whose 4-month-old son drowned in a bathtub while she was allegedly passed out probably had a blood-alcohol level in excess of two-and-a-half times the legal limit.
Celicia M. Wilson, 25, of 2417 Sunset Blvd. was charged with reckless homicide and child endangering, both felonies.
Municipal Judge Dan Spahn ordered the case to be bound over to the county grand jury.
Only two people, relatives who also live in the home, were called to testify during the 90-minute preliminary hearing.
April Walters said she and Wilson were drinking vodka the night before the child’s death before going to a Pittsburgh bus station around 3 a.m. to pick up a man coming in from Chicago. They both had a beer the next morning, Walters said.
Walters and Arieannua Hannah, 16, who also testified, left the house around 3:30 p.m. on April 2 to pick up other children after school.
Prior to leaving, the 4-month old, Shamir White, was given to Wilson, who was in the bathtub.
Walters and Hannah said they returned to the home around 25 minutes later and found water coming through the ceiling below the bathtub. The child was found dead in the tub.
Police Prosecutor John Mascio questioned Walters about whether Wilson was intoxicated in the tub. Walters said Wilson appeared to be tired and was nodding off.
After the child was found in the tub, Walters said Wilson was awake but “blanked out.” Walters said Wilson didn’t say anything about the child.
Walters said she went outside and was screaming and crying when a neighbor called the police.
Mascio asked Walters if Wilson was capable of caring for the child in the tub. She responded by saying, “I can’t tell you that,” adding she would have taken the child with her if she thought the boy would have been in danger.
Hannah said she came home early from school on April 2 because she wasn’t feeling well. She said she saw Wilson sleeping in a chair at the dining room table. Hannah said Wilson didn’t appear to be intoxicated when Wilson woke up and appeared steady on her feet.
Hannah said the baby had dried milk on its chest and needed to be cleaned up. Hannah said she put the baby on Wilson’s lap in the tub and Wilson began bathing the child.
Hannah said Wilson didn’t appear to be intoxicated.
Mascio told Spahn police are still waiting for the results of a blood-alcohol test on Wilson and it is believed it will show it was in excess of 0.2, two-and-a-half times of the legal intoxication level of 0.08.
Defense attorney Steven Stickles argued that the testimony showed the charge should be negligent homicide because Mascio didn’t prove heedless indifference for the consequences of Wilson’s actions. He said negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, is when a death occurs due to substantial lack of due care.
Mascio said charges may be considered against other people based on testimony at Friday’s hearing. He told Spahn the case should be presented to the grand jury and it will up to county Prosecutor Jane Hanlin as to what charges would come out of the grand jury.
Spahn believed Wilson accepted the child in the tub in a state of intoxication.
He said it will be up to a common pleas court jury to determine whether it is reckless or negligent homicide.
Spahn did reduce Wilson’s bond from $250,000 to $125,000 and ordered Wilson have no contact with her other children without approval of county children services.