MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ/AP) - A Macomb County couple convicted of child abuse after their 11-month-old daughter died from eating a morphine pill has been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Harold Murphy was sentenced Tuesday to between 2 and 10 years in prison, while his wife, Kimberly, received 3-10 years.
The couple was charged in the October 2013 death of Trinity Murphy. Prosecutors argued the couple committed the "reckless act" of maintaining an extremely messy house that allowed the child to ingest the pill that was intended for her recently deceased grandmother.
"The reckless act is that their house is a pigsty," said Yasmin Poles, an assistant Macomb County prosecutor. "It's a reckless act because their child is dead. They were supposed to make sure the child was not given access to the room where the grandmother died."
Trinity's grandmother, who had lived in the Sterling Heights house, died of cancer about two weeks before the child found the pill. Kimberly Murphy told police it was "very likely" her mother had dropped the pill on the floor where Trinity later found it.
Attorneys for the Murphys have said that no one knows how the child got the pill. Nijad Mehenna, attorney for Kimberly Murphy, said pills were found in a container on a closet shelf several feet off the floor.
"There is no testimony anybody observed anybody giving Trinity that pill or saw Trinity Murphy consume that pill," Mehenna said. "If the pills were anywhere within reach of an 11-month-old child, that's a reckless act. … We don't have that whatsoever in this particular case."
The Murphys were convicted of second-degree child abuse in December. They also lost their parental rights of their four other children following a trial before different judge.
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