Lisbon woman jailed for son's death

Relates to:
Date: 2005-03-26

Sarah Allen was convicted of manslaughter in the death of her 21-month-old adopted son, Nathaniel.
Author: The Associated Press

A Lisbon woman who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of her 21-month-old son was sentenced Friday to 3 1/2 years in prison. Sarah Allen, 31, was sentenced at the close of a hearing in Androscoggin County Superior Court, in which more than a dozen witnesses testified.

The sentence fell short of the eight years sought by prosecutors. Allen's attorney had asked that she be spared any jail time, arguing that she posed no threat to the public and did not need rehabilitation.

Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.

Jurors deliberated for 13 hours over three days before finding Allen guilty of causing the death of her adopted son, Nathaniel, who suffered head and neck injuries. The state said she caused the injuries by violently shaking or jerking him on Feb. 14, 2003. The defense suggested that the youngster succumbed to a pre-existing brain disorder.

Allen was tried twice on the manslaughter charge. The first trial ended when jurors were unable to agree on a verdict. Interviews with jurors later indicated that they were split 11-1 in favor of conviction.

Also sentenced Friday was Allen's husband, Jeremy, who was given six months for assault, for hitting the boy with a wooden spoon on the day before he suffered his fatal injuries.

Justice Ellen Gorman allowed Sarah and Jeremy Allen to remain free on bail pending the outcome of their appeals to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Sarah Allen's attorney, Verne Paradie, said an issue to be raised in his appeal will be the trial court's refusal to allow the introduction of newly uncovered evidence that could prove her innocence.

The evidence, involving a neuropathologist's study of samples of Nathaniel's eyes and brain, bolstered the case that the boy had an underlying metabolic disorder and suffered a seizure, Paradie said.


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