Mother who admitted to smothering her 2-month-old baby to death with pillow while high on meth is found not guilty

Friday, April 19, 2024 – An Indianapolis mother who admitted to smothering her crying baby to death with a pillow to make her stop crying has been allowed to walk free.

Dacia Lacey, 32, became overwhelmed and hid her face in her hands when a controversial judge, Mark Stoner, found her not guilty of neglect of a dependent resulting in the 2022 death of her daughter, Alona, who she smothered while high on meth.

The mom was cleared even though the judge told her it was “a case that happens when you’re a bad parent.”

“There are some things you can never do. You can never have sole possession of your children and go out and use drugs,” Stoner said. “You’re not innocent, but you’re not guilty of what the state has charged you with.”

Lacey, who faced up to 40 years in prison if convicted, dropped her head as Stoner told her that he found her not guilty in the bench trial.

The mom, wearing a bright yellow prison suit, placed her head in her hands as she tried to stop tears.

Stoner noted that there was no evidence to prove the charge Lacey was facing: neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

“Not everything that’s a mistake or everything that is wrong is criminal,” Stoner said.

"Something has to be done with criminal intent, criminal responsibility, and that’s what the defendant is charged with. When the state chooses to charge an individual, they must prove they did something with criminal intent. Poor parenting, by definition, is not criminal.”

"There was no sign of neglect of a dependent, like broken bones or other injuries that would signify longtime abuse. The pathologist was also unable to provide a cause or manner of death for the baby.

“It’s important to understand that the prosecutor chooses the charges. It’s the prosecutor that’s elected. The prosecutor has a screening division to make decisions as to what should be charged,” Stoner added.

Court records show that Lacey gave police a lengthy confession, detailing through tears how she smothered her daughter because she was high on meth and wanted her to stop crying so she could get some sleep.

During the trial, investigators learned that Lacey’s other daughter, who was three at the time of Alona’s death, witnessed her mother taking a pillow and smothering the baby.

Toxicology reports showed methamphetamine in Lacey’s system the day her baby died.

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