Cocaine baby’s mom pleads guilty

Published 10:03 am Friday, December 10, 2010

COURTLAND—A 21-year-old mother charged with felony child neglect after her 7-month-old daughter tested positive for cocaine was sentenced to three months in jail Thursday.

Megan Banton, who lived in Franklin at the time and now has a Capron address in her court records, admitted to the charge as part of a plea agreement in Southampton County Circuit Court Thursday.


Judge Rodham T. Delk Jr. said Banton would likely be released Thursday because she had already served more than three months in jail.

Banton was charged in April after Franklin social services officials and police showed up at her Artis Street home to check on the welfare of two small children. Southampton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke said the home was known to police for drug activity.

A week before Banton’s arrest, a man died of a drug overdose at the home, Cooke said.

He said the 7-month-old was found asleep on a mattress in a “soaking wet diaper covered in a soaking wet sheet.” Authorities took the children to Southampton Memorial Hospital, where the 7-month-old’s urine tested positive for cocaine. A second drug screening on the infant came back negative for cocaine.

Under the plea agreement, Banton will be on supervised probation for five years. She is also required to complete parenting classes, substance abuse treatment and 100 hours of community service.

The agreement also requires Banton to waive her rights pertaining to search and seizure for five years. As of Thursday, Banton’s children were in the care of their grandparents, Social Services officials said.