Grandmother awaits sentencing in toddler death

Grangeville, Idaho


By Gina Jameson


GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) _ A north Idaho stepgrandmother has
pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for leaving an infant
alone inside a vehicle for at least five hours last summer.

Prosecutors say Rita Johnston, 33, faces up to 10 years in
prison when she appears for sentencing in March.

Johnston pleaded guilty in Second District court yesterday as
part of a deal with Clearwater County Prosecutor Clayne Tyler.

ohnston was charged after police discovered 15-month-old
Patrick Graber Junior alone inside her vehicle on July 4th in

Police say the child was left in the vehicle for at least five
hours with the windows up as temperatures reached 95 degrees

At the time, Johnston told investigators she forgot about the
child when she stopped to visit a friend then fell asleep inside
the house.

Prosecutors say an investigation failed to find any evidence
Johnston was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
(The Lewiston Tribune)

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APNP-12-11-07 1149MST<

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