Mother convicted involuntary manslaughter in toddler's death

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (AP/KAKE) -

A Pittsburgh woman has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the death of her toddler daughter that authorities said was due to the narcotic fentanyl found in the child's pink sippy cup.

Allegheny County jurors convicted 23-year-old Jhenea Pratt on the two charges Tuesday in the death of 17-month-old Charlette Napper-Talley. But the panel, which began deliberations Monday, rejected convicting her of first- or third-degree murder.

Emergency responders found the toddler not breathing in April 2018, and authorities in Allegheny County said a lethal amount of fentanyl was found in her blood. They said Pratt told them she had "no clue" how the drug ended up in the beverage.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that in closing arguments Monday, the prosecution linked Charlette’s death to Pratt’s desire to smoke pot.

Pratt wanted to "sit back, relax and smoke marijuana," Assistant District Attorney Diana Page told jurors. "That baby was getting in the way of her enjoying her pastime."

Jurors were also shown a video of a detective interviewing Pratt. In the video, the detective says the pink sippy cup from which Charlette drank the laced liquid had enough fentanyl to "kill two horses."

Defense attorney Brandon Herring said his client "has always maintained that she would never intentionally hurt" her child.