An East Petersburg woman is charged in connection with her infant daughter’s asphyxiation death in April.
Kayla Marie Breniser, 27, is charged with felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and endangering a child regarding the April 14 death of the month-old girl at Breniser’s Valley Road home.
Breniser admitted to smoking marijuana throughout her pregnancy and after the baby was born, including hours before caring for the girl on the night she died.
The infant died of asphyxia while sleeping on a couch where Breniser also fell asleep, according to Assistant District Attorney Christopher Sarno, who approved filing of the charges.
A blood test administered that day revealed levels of the active component of marijuana in Breniser’s system.
Lancaster County Detective Larry Martin filed charges. Breniser is free on unsecured bail until her next court appearance; a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4.
Involuntary manslaughter - a second-degree felony because a young child was the victim - is defined as causing the death of another person as a direct result of the doing of an unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, or the doing of a lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner.
“Whereas there is nothing to indicate the result was intentional,” District Attorney Craig Stedman said Thursday, “the choice to use marijuana while responsible for the life and care of a helpless infant was intentional and the price immeasurable in this case.”
In a police interview, Breniser said smoking marijuana contributed to her falling asleep on the couch while holding the infant.
“The marijuana of 2016 is far more potent than it was years ago,” Stedman said. “It causes permanent brain damage to the user and in this case resulted in the senseless and preventable death of an innocent child.”
Breniser is presumed innocent.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; email@example.com; Twitter: @BrettHambright