Mother Sentenced in Son's Death

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari

June 16, 2006

A Charlottesville judge decides the punishment for an Arizona woman accused of killing her baby boy.

The judge said he could see both sides, and in the end he sentenced Terra Hamilton to time served.

The Arizona woman was charged with killing her infant son, Cordell, after she showed up at UVa hospital last march and 4 month-old was too sick to revive. She pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

During sentencing today, the commonwealth argued it was willful neglect. The defense said she just failed to see the seriousness of her son's condition.

Hamilton, a truck driver, had set out on the road from Arizona with her two kids and Cordell became seriously ill. The commonwealth said it was weeks before the mother sought treatment. By that time it was too late. Cordell was malnourished, dehydrated and had kidney failure. Hamilton told the judge she loved her baby and didn't mean for this to happen.

“She's my wife and she deserves to be home. it was just a tragic accident and I feel that we need to start the grieving process for her,” said Terra’s husband, Tom Hamilton,.

The judge agreed it was time for the healing process to begin.

Hamilton spent the last 15 months in the Albemarle-Charlottesville regional jail without bond and today she walked out a free woman.

Hamilton was also sentenced to two years of probation and will have no unsupervised contact with her other son.


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