Last month, I covered the heartbreaking case of three-month-old Luna O’Brien, who died on April 19, 2020 in the trailer where she lived with her mother on their family’s property in Muncy, Pennsylvania.
Luna’s mother, 20-year-old Demsey Mae Long, woke up that morning to find her infant daughter unresponsive, swaddled in multiple blankets in her bassinet with a space heater running in the enclosed bedroom. Baby Luna was pronounced dead that afternoon at UPMC Hospital, at which time her internal temperature was clocked at 104 degrees.
Demsey’s blood toxicity revealed multiple illicit substances in her system, including an unidentified stimulant, marijuana, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child as a parent, a first degree felony, as well as involuntary manslaughter, a second degree felony.
Demsey was scheduled for a hearing in the Lycoming Court of Common Pleas on Monday, August 31 at 1:30 PM in front of Judge Marc Lovecchio. The hearing was listed as an arraignment or ARD. In Pennsylvania, ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, which, according to Wikipedia, is “a special pre-trial intervention program” designed for “non-violent offenders with no prior or limited record.”
The goal of the ARD program is both rehabilitation and the prompt disposition of charges to avoid a long, drawn out, expensive trial. The Wikipedia article says, “Accordingly Defendants are generally required to waive certain constitutional rights in exchange for consideration of their case for ARD.”
If this is the case for Demsey, she will most likely have to agree to complete a substance abuse treatment program, be placed under supervision for a finite time period, and ordered to do community service.
Even more interestingly, as of yesterday, a court hearing was also set for Demsey at 9:00 AM on Friday, October 30 after an “Order Scheduling Guilty Plea” was entered by President Judge Nancy L. Butts.
I’ll keep an eye on Luna’s case and update you when I learn more.
Sources: The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania web portal, Wikipedia