Cournoyer Sentenced To 13 Years For Meth
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
November 29, 2012 6:47 PM
The man, who pleaded guilty to drug charges related to the death of a toddler in Wagner this summer, learned how many years he will spend in prison Thursday.
Taylor Cournoyer and his wife Laurie Cournoyer failed to notify police that a child had died at their home in July.
Investigators say the 2 year old was strangled by another child under the Cournoyer's supervision while the Cournoyer’s were using meth.
Taylor Cournoyer is set to spend the next 13 years in prison for two drug offenses. Even though the charges against him were drug related, the case was about much more than meth.
“That child is in a closet decomposing for 22 hours and those other kids in the house are left to deal with that little girl in the closet,” said SD Assistant Attorney General Bill Golden.
The prosecution asked the judge for Cournoyer to serve 25 years in prison.
But, Cournoyer's attorney's hoped for a shorter sentence that would give his client time to beat his drug habit. Including a plan that would increase Cournoyer's punishment if he were to use drugs again.
“He has the rope that he can use to pull himself up with. He has the rope he could use to hang himself with,” said Tom Deadrick.
The defense tried to show that the Cournoyer’s were trying to help, taking children into their home that other wise wouldn't have a home to go to.
“They took in children when nobody else wanted the children. They were young and they were trying to do what they could. They didn't do what we would consider a great job with them. And certainly one of them is now deceased. But yet, at the same time they were trying to do what was right. The meth got in the way of things,” said Deadrick.
But despite Cournouyer not being the guardian of the toddler who died, prosecutors believe drugs should not have been around the six children living at the home.
“When these children were depending on him, because we're talking about children in diapers, he's using drugs and he's using the drug so he can escape his responsibilities,” said Golden.
While none of the charges were directly related to the death of the two year old, Cournoyer's drug use and lack of attention to the children in the house has him facing more than a decade behind bars.
Laurie Cournoyer, Taylor Cournoyer's wife, has been charged with child abuse and failing to notify law enforcement about a child's death.