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Pulaski County woman sentenced to more than five years after son's death

Boy had three times the lethal dose of methadone in his system

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – A woman will spend five and a half years in jail after pleading guilty to felony child abuse that resulted in the death of her son. 

Amber Lucas was facing charges of second-degree murder in the death of the boy after he died from ingesting three times the lethal dose of methadone. 

According to prosecutors, Lucas was in court today for a hearing when the murder charges were dismissed.

"Once we were able to determined the Defendant's actions were, indeed, unintentional and Ms. Lucas was willing to accept criminal responsibility pursuant to a lengthy prison sentence and a conviction of the enhanced neglect charge that factors in death, we determined the prosecution of the felony murder charge was legally inappropriate," said Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Fleenor.

Fleenor says the child died by his mother's neglect. He says she left her methadone out where he found and took it.

She will be on supervised probation for two years when she gets out.

The following is a statement from Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Fleenor about Lucas' sentence: 

"The Defendant will serve a prison sentence that is an extreme upward deviation of the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines. They were inadequate and would have been unjust had the Court sentenced her within those guidelines. A preventable death of a child, regardless of intent or not, should result in severe punishment, life the Defendant received in this case."