The Latest: Plea deal spares mom jail time in swing death

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2016 2:15 PM

LA PLATA, Md. (AP) — The Latest on the case of a woman found pushing her dead son in a playground swing last year (all times local):

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2 p.m.

A woman found pushing her dead son in a playground swing in Maryland last year will avoid time in prison or a mental institution under a plea deal.

News media outlets report that as part of the deal accepted Monday, a Charles County judge found Romechia Simms not criminally responsible. Simms entered an Alford plea to involuntary manslaughter, avoiding a trial on the more serious charges of manslaughter, first-degree child abuse and child neglect resulting in death. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict.

Under a conditional release order, Simms must take her medication and see a psychiatrist.

The 25-year-old had been suffering from schizophrenia when she pushed her 3-year-old son Ji'Aire Lee on a swing for more than 40 hours before he died of hypothermia and dehydration.

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9:45 a.m.

A court-appointed forensic psychologist says a woman who was found pushing her dead son in a playground swing in Maryland last year suffers from schizophrenia and is not criminally responsible in the child's death.

The Washington Post (wapo.st/1T0nkLO) reports it's unclear how the report could affect the case of 25-year-old Romechia Simms and whether a judge will declare her not criminally responsible or reject the findings and move forward with the proceedings. Simms' trial was scheduled to begin Monday in Charles County.

Authorities have said Simms put her 3-year-old child, Ji'Aire Donnell Lee, in a playground swing the morning of May 20. She was spotted the morning of May 22 pushing her child's lifeless body. A medical examiner ruled the boy died of dehydration and low body temperature.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com