Decatur Mother Gets Probation In Son’s Death

FAYETTEVILLE (KFMS) — A Decatur woman received eight years probation but no prison time for causing the death of her 2-month-old son, according to Benton County Circuit Court documents.

Molly Sullivan, 22, was sentenced Thursday (July 27) after pleading guilty April 25 to manslaughter.

Sullivan will serve 85 days in the Benton County Jail, be evaluated for substance abuse and assessed for parenting classes, according to the documents.

Sullivan faces up to 10 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction if she violates her probation.

Benton County deputies went to Sullivan’s home on Coon Hollow Road on Oct. 28 for a report of a deceased 2-month-old boy, according to a probable cause affidavit.

They found pressure marks on the baby’s body indicating he had been lying face down on his stomach when he died.

Sullivan lived in a metal storage building adapted into living quarters with two other boys and their father, the affidavit states. The building had electricity, but no running water.

Sullivan told police she woke up around 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28 to find her son was blue and purple, so she called 911, according to the affidavit.

Detectives noted several inconsistencies in Sullivan’s statement, and she eventually admitted to putting her baby to sleep on his stomach in a playpen and putting a pillow over him, according to the affidavit.

Sullivan told investigators she had not slept in days and was frustrated with the baby being fussy, but she had not intended to kill him.

Under state law, a person may commit manslaughter if they recklessly cause the death of another person.

Manslaughter is a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000, according to Arkansas Code Annotated 5-10-104.