SD Woman Sent. For Failure To Report Death
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
March 14, 2013 6:50 PM
A Wagner woman will spend the next 22 years in prison after she failed to notify police about a child that died in her home and other drug related charges.
Laurie Cournoyer was sentenced at the Charles Mix County Courthouse today in Lake Andes.
Cournoyer plead guilty to four felony charges late last year. Two counts of possessing meth, maintaining a place where drugs are kept, and one count of failing to notify police of a child that died.
Just before the judge made his decision, Laurie Cournoyer spoke about the dangers of meth.
Laurie Cournoyer knew jail time probably awaited her as she walked into the courtroom.
Only one investigator was called as a witness Thursday. The only other person to speak to the judge other than attorneys was Cournoyer and she had a lot to say.
“Meth is hurting our people, our families, our community but, most importantly our children,” said Cournoyer.
While the child who died in her home July 3rd
2012 wasn't hers, 2-year-old Riley was under Cournoyer’s care.
“To know that I failed them, not only as a mother but as a protector,” said Cournoyer.
Laurie Cournoyer asked the judge for a sentence similar to her husband, Taylor, who received 13 years in November of 2012.
But, since Cournoyer was acting as the caregiver to all the children in the home, she was facing more charges.
“This is inappropriate. This cannot be tolerated. The most precious thing we have is our children and when people resort to drugs and alcohol to avoid that responsibility that's what the harm is,” said Asst. Attorney General Bill Golden.
In her statement Cournoyer asked for forgiveness and admitted to her lack of judgment.
“I choose to put that needle in my vein. Now, for the rest of my life, I have to live with that choice I made,” said Cournoyer.
Cournoyer's attorney described her as smart and someone who has a big heart.
“She's intelligent and clearly the court picked up on that and that was part of his basis for her deciding that she should have known better. She had the ability to go ahead and change this but the drugs went ahead and ruled her life, “ said Golden
Cournoyer became emotional learning her next 22 years will be spent behind bars, but wanted to convey a message to those involved in meth.
“If anything good should come from this it should be that we need more awareness, more treatment, and more support for the people who have problems with meth,” said Cournoyer.