A Pulaski woman will serve five and a half years of a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court to the child abuse death of her child.
Amber Renee Lucas will serve her time in the state penitentiary, then upon release be on supervised probation for two years.
On Sunday, Feb. 25 at approximately 4 a.m., the Pulaski Police Department responded to Meadowview Apartments in reference to a toddler in cardiac arrest.
According to a Pulaski Police Department press release following the incident, officers and EMS personnel attempted to revive the child without success.
The child’s body was sent to the medical examiner.
On May 22, a Pulaski County Grand Jury issued a direct indictment charging Lucas with Second Degree Murder in the death of her child.
Monday that charge was dismissed, and Lucas plead guilty to a lesser charge of child abuse death.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Justin Griffith issued a statement late Monday explaining the reasoning behind the conclusion of the case.
“Today the Commonwealth was able to successfully convict and punish Amber Lucas for the unintentional neglectful death of her child. The case was able to be handled justly and swiftly because of the work of the Town of Pulaski Police Department and the cooperation of the Pulaski County Social Services Department,” Griffith said.
“The combination of those agencies has and will always continue to play vital roles in seeking justice in Pulaski County. In addition, various members of this community were willing to step forward and make sure justice was obtained, for which our Office and this County is thankful. Furthermore, we appreciate the Father’s cooperation and he is in agreement with the results,” he added.
“Our office aggressively charged Amber Lucas, as we should have. Once we were able to determine the Defendant’s actions were, indeed, unintentional and Ms. Lucas was willing to accept criminal responsibility pursuant to a lengthy prison sentence and a conviction of the enhanced neglect charge that factors in death, we determined the prosecution of the felony murder charge was legally inappropriate.
“The Defendant will serve a prison sentence that is an extreme upward deviation of the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines. They were inadequate and would have been unjust had the Court sentenced her within those guidelines. A preventable death of a child, regardless of intent or not, should result in severe punishment, like the Defendant received in this case,” Griffith concluded.