Lesser Plea in Mingo County Child Neglect Case

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A mother sobbed as she told a judge what happened the night her son died.

Zachary Baisden, 10, of the Merrimac area of Mingo County, died in May 2012.

In May 2013, his mother and father, Scott and Brandi Baisden, were each indicted on one count of child neglect resulting in death. The fourth-grader had Muscular Dystrophy and was confined to a wheelchair.

Both parents were back in court Tuesday for a scheduled plea hearing in the case.

During the hearing in Mingo County Circuit Court, Brandi Baisden pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of delivering a controlled substance.

Baisden told Senior Status Judge John Cummings that her son was in pain that night and was having trouble breathing so she gave him Zanax which was prescribed to her husband.

Mingo County Prosecutor Teresa Maynard told the court Tuesday that tests showed that the drug given did not contribute to Zachary's death and this was not a case of child neglect resulting in death, but a life is now gone.

"Nobody ever wins in a case like this, the child is still gone and we can't bring him back and it's difficult for the parents and it's difficult for me to prosecute a case like this," said Maynard.

Brandi Baisden could face 1-3 years in jail and a $10,000 fine when she is sentenced on April 17.

Zachary’s father, Scott Baisden was granted a pre-trial diversion based upon evidence that he did not give his son the medication and that the medication was not the cause of death.

Prosecutors say Mr. Baisden lied to investigators by saying he did administer the drug. They say he did this to protect his wife.

Mr. Baisden will not face jail time or a fine, but will be monitored for drug use four times a month for the next year. The child neglect resulting in death charge was also dropped against Mr. Baisden.

Prosecutor Maynard says there was never any intent to harm this child, but only a neglect issue.

“I don't think there was ever an intentional act or was ever the intent of these parties to harm this child, it was more of neglect issue more of an omission than an action,” said Maynard.

Last May, Maynard, who was the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, told WSAZ.com that toxicology reports showed Zachary had been given high doses of over-the-counter cold medication, along with Zanax.

Maynard said the combination caused Zachary to get even sicker and have serious problems with his lungs.

Maynard said this began in October of 2011, seven months before his death.

Maynard also said workers at Zachary’s school told his parents they needed to take him to a doctor, but they did not.

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