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Parents Plead Guilty In Heroin Death Of 11-Month-Old Teething Son

Two applied heroin to baby's teeth and gums, resulting in his death, prosecutor says

The parents of an 11-month-old boy pleaded guilty this week to administering heroin to their baby son, who died in September 2008.

The pleas ended a four-year investigation into the unexplained death of "Baby JM," Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said.

Denise Manco, 35, and Rondell Moore, 37, each pleaded guilty in Ocean County Superior Court before Judge Rochell Gizinski on Jan. 7 to one charge of second degree manslaughter in connection with the death of their infant son.

Seaside Heights police and emergency responders went to the home on Sept. 12, 2008 on a report of an unresponsive child, Ford said.

The baby was taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River, where he was later pronounced dead. The autopsy on the baby was inconclusive, but the toxicology results showed the presence of heroin in the child, Ford said.

“In October 2012, we developed new and credible information which indicated that ingestion of the heroin by the child was not accidental, but rather occurred as a result of an intentional act or acts by the parents," she said.

The two were indicted by an Ocean County Grand Jury on second-degree manslaughter charges, recklessly causing the baby's death, child endangerment and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, Ford said.

"...both defendants admitted to placing heroin in the baby’s mouth and rubbing it on the baby’s gums because he was teething," she said. "This finding was consistent with the autopsy and toxicological results conducted and reviewed by the medical examiner, Dr. Hydow Park, who determined that the baby died from acute heroin intoxication."

Both are slated to be sentenced before Judge Gizinski on Feb. 22.

"I would commend Detective Steve Korman of the Seaside Heights Police Department and Detective Sergeant Carlos Trujillo-Tovar of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for their diligence in pursuing this investigation into the death of Baby JM," she said.. 

The state agreed to dismiss the child endangerment and drug possession charges in exchange for the guilty plea, Ford said.

Both could face up to ten years in prison and are subject to the state's No Early Release Act, which mandates they serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before being considered for parole, she said.

Moore also admitted to an unrelated charge of possession of CDS with the intent to distribute during a September 2012 arrest, Ford said.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant Prosecutor Michael R. Weatherstone. Detective Steve Korman from the Seaside Heights Police Department, Detective Sergeant Carlos Trujillo-Tovar from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Detective Eric Skieczius from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Criminalistics Investigations Unit were the lead investigators on the case.

Rosalinda Russo Tamke January 10, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Sick people, stupid people doing that to a baby. No doubt they were supported by the State of New Jersey and the State of New Jersey will continue to support them.
Newsy January 10, 2013 at 11:48 PM
How could the prosecutor dismiss the child endangerment and drug possession charges when that is exactly what they did and had, respectively. They were too stupid to think they could kill their child because they were always high on it themselves! Most have knocked 10 years off their sentence I suppose. Even more ridiculous.
kazoome January 10, 2013 at 11:49 PM
casey anthony was found not guilty thats the difference.......maybe thats why they took the plea deal.....maybe there case wasnt that strong
Callingyouout January 10, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Agreed. Literally unbelievable.
Margie January 10, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Did someone reject my post ? If so, why? There was nothing volger.. I atleast blocked the curses. Those f*@#*&^ ppl gonna get out of jail in 7 yrs and have another baby and do the same thing again. This state lets ppl get away with the worst sh!t and go to prisonFor stupid things
Margie January 11, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Or something. . My god that innocent lil boy. His own parents didn't love him enough to protect him from themselves
Sonia Fagg January 11, 2013 at 12:28 AM
I can only think they did this out of sheer stupidity. At one time paregoric was used to rub on a baby's gums when it was teething and it wasn't until years later that they found out it wasn't a good thing to do. Maybe these parents didn't realize what harm it could do and thought they were helping him. Not that I'm making excuses for them, just a thought.
Sandra January 11, 2013 at 01:15 AM
At least no taxpayer money will be further spent to help the parents while they work the judicial system. Why rape the public? They already killed a helpless trusting infant. No conscious, no doubt and will just be another statistic in the prison system. More money spent too.
Candice January 11, 2013 at 01:48 AM
I've known people who have gotten more time in jail just for putting drugs into themselves...and at least then they're mostly just killing themselves (although that doesn't sound quite right I think people should get what I mean) and only ten years for killing your own child...plus 3 free meals a day and a free place to live...bring back the needle, you take a life you lose yours an eye for an eye...just horrible
Winston Smith January 11, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Adoption is impossible unless you have a spare $30,000 laying around. Middle class people cant afford adoption, shameful. As for these 2, what can I say. Garbage seems to have no trouble getting preggers.
kim January 11, 2013 at 04:21 AM
10 years are u kidding??? 10 years?? That's a shame murder is murder life in prison
Da Gr8 1 January 11, 2013 at 05:04 AM
only in jersey and everyone wonders why we are the butt of every national joke
bazooka joe January 11, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Casey anthony killed her kid and didnt get a damn thing
crime stopper January 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM
This is a shame. A lil boy is dead n the so called parents gets only 10 yrs. Well that is not enough. The courts needs to get better on this. He was 2 and with no say in this. Where is the family for this boy. Grandparnets, Aunts, Uncles so called friends. Someone anyone. Are you all that stupid as to not help. Maybe they to need to pay for this. To many people doing this drug or selling it. Having thier kids involved for what. So they can go to jail also. What kind of roll madels is this. NONE. Courts need to crack down more on this. SET EXAMPLES. If the adults want to kill themselves so be it but why the kids. Give them a chance to a normal life.
WMS826 January 11, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Quick..rebuild affordable housing in seaside. Sterilize these two is item one. Some liberal democrat wants home inspections and psychological exams of gun owners, how about one for those taking children out of a hospital after birth. All I needed was a car seat and no questions asked. But buy a gun and suddenly my home is subject to illegal search and siezure.
Johnjcpa January 11, 2013 at 01:29 PM
You don't want an exam to own a gun but you do want an exam to keep your child? I guess you're right, nothing in the constitution about the right to bear children. To be effective, your procreation exam really needs to be given before sex, avoids so many issues that way.
Elaine January 11, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Eye for an Eye!!! Death for a Death !!!! NJ and all states should have the death penalty. If you choose to take someones life then your life should be taken!!! Then lets see how our crime rate goes down in the U.S.A. !!!
Mom of 6 January 11, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Too bad Jersey doesn't have the death penalty anymore! Sick!
billy jones January 11, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Ok I can see whiskey on his gums puts the child to sleep and takes away the pain. That what I grew up on and what I used for my own kids. But heroin.... Thats crazy. I still think that some people are going a little overboard with the death penalty. Come on get a grip.
Catsfin January 11, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Why doesn't Patch put up a pic of these 2? There is certainly a pic plus a whole lot of personal info on Patch's news about Sue Rogers / and her case seems like a domestic dispute - not a chelds death!
ed crowley January 11, 2013 at 05:11 PM
The 85 percent rule would require 81/2 years. Hope you were just having a bad math day.
ed crowley January 11, 2013 at 05:16 PM
The 85 percent rule will keep them there for eight and half years. Try reading the article again. Deals are done when there is doubt of conviction and for cost reasons.
ed crowley January 11, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Eight and a half try doing the math again.
ed crowley January 11, 2013 at 05:22 PM
What do you say to those who have been proven innocent after conviction?
MyTown January 11, 2013 at 11:15 PM
They will be out in 8 yrs and living off Free Health Care, Free Housing,Get a Free Cell phone,Free Food Stamps etc. And put us in more debt on when will the left be stopped?
fed up January 12, 2013 at 08:49 PM
I agree. At least they will not be able to vote any longer.
Janice Carpino January 13, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Only low life, but watch they will get off in a year, so they can do it again.
Russell Stewart January 13, 2013 at 06:04 PM
If they had the money for heroin...why couldn't they spend a few bucks on baby orajel? Wtf? And only getting 10 years for murder? I'm sorry..if I murdered my child...I would've plead guilty & did my time! (Not that I would ever kill anyone especially my family) This is a messed up world...they should have never been offered a deal whatsoever!
Edith January 14, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Great job Steve and Carlos now that baby can rest in peace. Those parents should get the same death the baby got.
Robert Costello February 18, 2013 at 07:27 PM
I have no problem with the ten years sentence. Even if they get out in 102 months, the other parents in jail will make that time seem longer. They should be sterilized on top of the time served.

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