Tallulah teen is indicted in baby’s death

Published 11:56 am Friday, November 4, 2011

A Tallulah teenager has been indicted by the Madison Parish Grand Jury for second-degree murder in the death of her infant daughter whose fatal illness was blamed on physical abuse, Louisiana officials said.

Amanda Lee, 16, 1111 Williams St., will be tried as an adult, a judge ruled this week.

Lee was arrested a week ago today by Madison Parish juvenile authorities, said sheriff’s department investigator Neal Horath. She was held at the juvenile detention center until a hearing Wednesday at the Sixth Judicial District Court in Tallulah, where Judge John Crigler ruled she will be tried as an adult, Horath said.

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Lee’s 2 1/2-month-old daughter died July 22, and Horath said at first investigators wanted to rule out the possibility of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

State police joined the investigation four days after the baby died, and the infant’s body was sent to the New Orleans Forensic Center, said Trooper Mark Dennis, public affairs officer for the state police.

An autopsy determined that the infant died of pneumonia apparently caused by broken ribs, which prevented the baby from taking full breaths, Dennis said. In addition, the baby had suffered a broken arm and leg, the autopsy showed.

Horath said Lee probably will have a second hearing within 30 days to set a trial date. She is being held at the Louisiana Transitional Facility for Women in Tallulah. It was not known if bond was set.

A second-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence, Dennis said.