UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A Cheverly mother pleaded guilty to suffocating her own children more than two years ago.
Now, prosecutors are asking that the law in Maryland change so social services is alerted not only when a child is harmed, but also when they are threatened.
“What happened could have been avoided,” said Lester Thompson, a father of one of the children, outside the Prince George’s County District Courthouse.
Moments earlier, Sonya Spoon entered a guilty plea for the second-degree murder of her 1-year-old son, Ayden, and her 3-year-old daughter, Kayla, her child with Thompson.
During the hearing, prosecutors outlined the evidence they would have presented at Spoon’s trial, including the fact that she was hospitalized for threatening to kill Kayla and commit suicide. She was released on Sept. 5, 2014, and emergency dispatchers got the 911 call from Spoon’s mother reporting unresponsive toddlers two days later.
“Nobody reached out to anybody to help. They just let her out two days later to kill my daughter and her brother,” Thompson said.
At the time, Thompson and Spoon were in a custody battle over Kayla. But Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said no law was broken when no one notified social services of the threat against the 3-year-old’s life.
“What the law says now is that if you have actually harmed the child, that must be reported. But if you’ve threaten to kill or harm a child, there is no legal requirement that that be reported to the Department of Social Services or to our offices,” Alsobrooks said. “… We feel this is a gaping loophole that has to be closed.”
Alsobrooks supports an effort in Annapolis to change the law, which she said has failed in the statehouse before.
As part of the plea deal struck between both parties, Spoon pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder, one count for each child. The state is asking she serve 70 years with time suspended — so in effect, 45 years in prison. The least the defense could ask for is 35 years.
Spoon’s sentencing is set for June 7.