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Dec 7, 2012 10:06 AM by Q2 News

Woman pleads guilty in death of child

COLUMBUS, MT - A Hardin woman plead guilty negligent homicide in the death of a three-year-old boy in August of last year.

Lavonna Bird was scheduled to go on trial Monday for the death of Jaren Wayne Blacksmith.
Bird enter her plea Thursday in Stillwater County District Court in Columbus, one of three courthouses where Judge Blair Jones presides.

Bird's trial was scheduled to begin earlier this week in Hardin, and she asked to make her plea in Columbus.

Bird pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for leaving Blacksmith in a car in Hardin in August of 2011.

Temperatures that day rose to more than 90 degrees.

An autopsy showed that Blacksmith died of prolonged heat exposure, and also revealed the child had multiple bruises on his upper body and head.

A federal affidavit shows another child traveling with Bird and the victim, told authorities that Bird assaulted the toddler while visiting the Crow Reservation that morning.

"I'm not privy to any conversations a defense attorney has with his client," said David Sibley, Big Horn County Deputy County Attorney. "She looked at the evidence and decided it was in her best interest to enter a plea. We did a good job with the investigation. It was an investigation that involved BIA, the FBI and the Big Horn County Sheriff's Office, and we were willing to go to trial."

Sibley says he will ask for a sentence of 20 years with five suspended.

Bird's sentencing is now scheduled for January 23.

She remains free on a $40,000 bond.


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