Will Charges in Baby Death to Follow Kitsap’s Example?May 23rd, 2007 by josh farley
Inside the Mason County jail, Shawna M. Doidge, 22, of Shelton, awaits possible charges county prosecutors could bring against her.
The Mason County Sheriff’s Office and Child Protective Services have been building a case against her since her 19-month-old son Nickolas’ (pictured) drowning death April 19.
The sheriff’s office has finished its investigation, which concluded in her arrest Tuesday. Their recommendation: a second-degree negligent homicide charge, under the state’s felony murder statute.
If prosecutors elect to charge it that way, it wouldn’t be the first negligent homicide charge on the Great Peninsula in recent years.
Many of you will recall Kitsap County Prosecutors’ case against Richeal Rhoades, then 22, was found guilty by a judge of second-degree murder due to the December 2005 neglectful death of her daughter, Brenda, in Jackson Park.
In that case, there was discussion of possible charges being either second-degree murder or first-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors, obviously, chose the former, and Rhoades received an 18-year sentence.
Will Mason County Prosecutors follow Kitsap’s example? Only time will tell. I spoke with elected prosecutor Gary Burleson this morning, who told me she’ll make a preliminary appearance in court, but it is highly unlikely charges will be filed today.
Police believe Doidge was on social-networking site MySpace.com when she heard the calls of Nickolas’ 2-year-old brother from the bath tub.
She attempted CPR, called a neighbor, and then called 911 at about 11:30 a.m., according to police reports.
“The mother had essentially left the 19-month-old victim, Nickolas, and his 2 year old brother in the bath tub alone for several minutes while she sat at her computer at the other end of the house,” according to Mason County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Dean Byrd.
The family lived at an East Pickering Road home near the Graham Point and Bay Shore Communities about 9 miles north of Shelton.
The investigation, involving the sheriff’s office and Child Protective Services, concluded Doidge’s behavior was “consistent with neglect,” Byrd said.
Nickolas J. Doidge was taken to Mason General Hospital then transported to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, where he remained on life support until his death six days after the incident.
Doidge will be held at the Mason County jail without bail on suspicion of second-degree felony murder. Mason County prosecutors will have 72 hours to develop formal charges against her.