BANGOR – The parents of a local 1-year-old girl who overdosed on drugs and died each had court dates this week.
Kim Nelligan and Shane Smith are both charged with endangering the welfare of a child in the October 2018 death of their 13-month-old daughter, Jordynn. They were charged in September.
Smith told investigators that Nelligan rubbed her empty heroin baggies on the inside of their daughter’s cheek, in an attempt to help her sleep.
The medical examiner determined the baby girl overdosed on the powerful synthetic pain killer fentanyl, a drug that can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine that drug dealers are known to mix with heroin.
In addition to the child endangerment, Nelligan, 33, also faces possession of drugs in connection with her daughter’s death. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges and is free on bail.
“Kim Nelligan recently has had a change of attorneys, so a new attorney has been appointed on that,” District Attorney Marianne Lynch said after court. “I’ll have an opportunity to speak to that attorney later on as we do in all cases to see if we’re able to negotiate an appropriate outcome to that case.”
The Class D child endangerment charge is punishable by one year behind bars and a fine of up to $2,000.
Smith, 31, of Winterport, also faces additional drug charges after Maine State Police say he was found in Howland with two bags of methamphetamine in the weeks following his initial arrest. He is at Penobscot County Jail for violating his bail and drug possession.
“He’s applying for drug court, and if he gets in we’ll reach a plea agreement,” Zachary Smith, who is representing Smith, said Thursday after the court granted a postponement. “The main thing is the drug case that he picked up after this child endangerment case. That’s really why he would be going into drug court.”
“The Adult Drug Treatment Court is an alternative for people who have some serious charges pending who have a history of substance abuse disorder,” said Maggie Gray, an assistant district attorney for Penobscot County. “It’s a way to divert them from going to prison, to getting back into the community, to getting their lives back together. We’ve had some wonderful success.”
“I think it’s very important,” Lynch said. “A lot of the cases we see here, unfortunately, are the result of significant substance abuse issues, so we’re very thankful that courts, not just here in Penobscot County but in other counties — Hancock, Kennebec, and Cumberland counties — are able to offer this alternative.”
She added later, “In some cases, it’s very effective in terms of getting at the root cause of problems.”