Woman, 21, arrested for first-degree manslaughter in death of 5-year-old boy in Mitchell

Police lights. (Republic file photo)
Police lights. (Republic file photo)

A 21-year-old Mitchell woman has been arrested for first-degree manslaughter after the death of a 5-year-old boy on Monday, officials said Wednesday.

Julia Lee Carter faces charges of first-degree manslaughter and abuse or cruelty to a minor, Mitchell Department of Public Safety Det. Lt. Don Everson said in a statement.

Everson said the department received a 911 call at 8 a.m. Monday from a woman who said she was going to the Avera Queen of Peace hospital in Mitchell with a 5-year-old boy who was not breathing. The boy was declared dead at the hospital, despite life-saving measures being taken.

According to police, Carter allegedly told authorities that she kicked the boy five times in the stomach and stomped on his abdomen and said that she knew she injured the child. Carter and the child lived at the same home, but the nature of their relationship was not disclosed Wednesday.

An autopsy conducted on Tuesday indicated that the boy died as the result of blunt force trauma to the abdomen and the death was ruled a homicide.


The investigation is ongoing, Everson said.

South Dakota Codified Law indicates first-degree manslaughter charges are a Class C felony, which is subject to a maximum penalty of life in prison in the state penitentiary and a $50,000 fine. Abuse or cruelty to a minor is a Class 3 felony when the victim is less than age 7, subject to a maximum penalty of 15 years in the state prison and a $30,000 fine.

State law defines first-degree manslaughter as perpetrated "without any design to effect death," or as "unnecessarily" perpetrated.

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