Mother pleads guilty in 3-year-old son’s freezing death

MORGANTON, N.C. – A North Carolina woman whose 3-year-old son froze to death earlier this year pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in court Monday, WSOC reports.

Jamie Basinger, 24, faced one count each of involuntary manslaughter and child abuse, but prosecutors dropped the felony abuse count as part of a plea deal.

On March 15, Basinger’s son, Landyn, was found frozen to death on the front porch of his home in Morganton. Temperatures that morning were in the 20s with a wind chill. Investigators believe the boy’s prints on the front door were evidence of his attempts to get back inside the home, prosecutors said.

A warrant says Basinger told Burke County sheriff’s deputies that she last saw her son at 10:30 p.m. March 14 when she put him to bed.

“She didn’t hear him. She didn’t hear him leave the room. Didn’t hear him leave the house. Didn’t hear him banging on the door. She was asleep while he was freezing to death,” Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lippert said.

The warrant also says Basinger tested positive for several illegal substances. Prosecutors said she admitted to using meth on March 12, as well as marijuana the following day.

Landyn celebrated his third birthday the day before he was found dead.

“She’s going to have to live with this the rest of her life,” her mother, Brenda Basinger, told the Morganton News Herald. “She’s going to have a battle — we all are.”

Basinger, who has already been jailed for 245 days, was given credit for time served and will be going home. The judge also ordered three years probation, which, if violated, would result in an additional 19 to 32 months behind bars.