A Scranton, Pennsylvania, couple has been charged in the death of their 5-week-old infant son on Jan. 21.
Amanda Salvatori and Anthony Donvito allegedly fell asleep in bed with the infant after taking prescription drugs. When they awoke the next day, the baby was dead.
"This is hell," Salvatori said after the charges were filed. "A mother shouldn’t have to go through this."
Since there is no evidence that the death was intentional, prosecutors charged the pair with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child. The prosecution is not likely to push for more serious charges.
“I had to spring this news on them this afternoon,” said defense attorney Paul Walker.“They didn’t see it coming. And they’re feeling awful. They’ve gone through the worst experience a parent could ever go through and then to find that someone is charging them criminally with that.”
Salvatori denied that she took any drugs and asserted that the blood tests were inaccurate.
But this was rejected by the prosecution, who stood by the results and pointed out that the infant was born addicted to narcotics.
Police spoke to the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, who was also at home that day. She said that she heard the baby struggling to breathe and tried to wake her parents, but was unsuccessful.
"You have a baby," Walker argued. "There’s no instruction manual. You try to raise the baby as best you can. I mean, people who get older and have more experience should know that you don’t lay down next to a baby and fall asleep, but sometimes you do that as a young parent just to comfort the child, you know, and it’s just an accident."
Donvito is being held on $2,000 bail, while Salvatori was released after appearing in court. They are both scheduled to appear in court again on May 20.