A southwest Missouri mother who was found lying next to her dead son in a field has pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and elder abuse in his death.
Prosecutors had said Austin Anderson, the 19-year-old son of Kimberly Lightwine, had "multiple handicaps," including blindness and autism, and couldn't survive without medication. After authorities found Anderson and Lightwine, both nearly naked on a summer day on a Morrisville, Missouri, farm, an autopsy determined Anderson was dehydrated and might have gone into shock because he was not given his medication, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
Lightwine, 43, was initially facing second-degree murder following her son's death. Court records posted by Bolivar Herald-Free Press show she had told a Polk County, Missouri, deputy she killed her son.
However, Lightwine, through her attorney, has contended she doesn't remember what happened to her and Anderson before they were found in the field. Lightwine says she was injured and drugged when she was found, according to a statement posted to an online fundraising page. She had a broken leg and a broken jaw.
"She does believe that there were other people involved that inflicted violence upon her that caused her to not be able to deliver the aid and treatment that her son needed," defense attorney Jason Coatney told KY3. "But, under the circumstances, she acknowledged her involvement with these people certainly led to these consequences."
Through a guilty plea Wednesday, she acknowledged her son's death was unintentional.
The prosecution said in a statement that Lightwine had "recklessly failed to provide the needed medication and allowed him to remain unprotected for some period of time that resulted in his death."
As a result of the guilty plea, the News-Leader reported, Lightwine is expected to complete a 120-day substance abuse program through the Missouri Department of Corrections. Upon finishing the program, Lightwine could be released on five years of probation.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29 in Polk County.