Dinwiddie mother walks free after newborn drowns in toilet

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va (WTVR) — It took Dinwiddie Circuit Court Judge Pamela Baskervill just minutes to find Devin Small guilty.

Small, who was originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of her newborn, was found guilty on the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

The 22-year-old walked out of the Dinwiddie Circuit Courthouse a free woman after entering her guilty plea. She was sentenced to three years, with three years suspended for five years. That means if Small violates the terms from the court, she could forced to serve some — if not all — of her three year sentence.

Small was charged in October 2013 after she gave birth to the child while sitting on a toilet inside her Namozine Road home.

In court Wednesday it was revealed the autopsy showed drowning was the cause of death for the newborn.

However, defense attorney Joe Morrissey told CBS 6 reporter Jerrita Patterson that the baby girl’s death was an “accidental killing.”

Morrissey said Small did not know she was pregnant, adding his client was planning to take a pregnancy test when she unexpectedly gave birth to a nearly full-term baby.

“She went to the clinic, they couldn’t do it because they don’t do it on Wednesdays — they do it on Monday,” Morrissey said. “She went to choir practice Friday night, pains developed early morning of Saturday, she delivers child; and the pregnancy test was scheduled for that following Monday.”

The case took another unexpected turn back in November when Devin’s mother, Angela–who was also charged–died from a heart attack while out on bond.

13 comments

  • Jennifer

    How first & foremost do you NOT know you are pregnant?!?!? Secondly, once you have said baby how do you give birth & ACCIDENTLY let it drown in a toilet!!! This piece of trash should get the same treatment she gave that poor innocent child!! She should be drowned in a toilet!!! She is just further proof that our legal system is a farce!!

  • bmujahid

    She could have been in denial about being pregnant, happens every day. Apparently the family didn’t know she was pregnant either. It does happen. Here have been girls who just looked chubby who were full term. The baby drowned because the mother was lying on the bathroom floor after giving birth and the grandmother was trying to help her. Show some compassion at least. The grandmother actually died later of a heart attack. You didn’t seem concerned the grandmother died.

  • PU.PC

    This Country, now, makes mockery of the value of life,
    especially for the most innocent and defenseless;.
    relegated to medical waste bags or the toilet.
    Evidently, she didn’t even need an excuse.

  • moe

    “the baby died because the mother was laying on the floor and the grandmother was trying to help her”. Think about what you just said. Are you telling me that while the mother was laying on the floor (I remind you she was an adult…not a child) grandma couldn’t take 2 seconds to pull the baby out of the toilet. Get real and get a clue. There is absolutely no reason that baby should have been left in that toilet to drown. Accidental my butt. More like complete stupidity.

    • bmujahid

      You were there apparently and know how long the child was in the toilet. It takes seconds to drown. You also apparently know that the child was alive when the grandmother was summoned to the bathroom. And you also apparently know that the sheriff’s office was called for a “medical emergency” because the family intentionally left the child to die in the toilet. You apparently know more than the judge and prosecutors in this case who reviewed the evidence. Congratulations.

      • moe

        First of I never said that they let the baby drown on purpose so read it again and get your facts straight before you comment. I said it was stupidity that let that baby drown. The mother had plenty of time to realize she had delivered a baby and then pull that baby out of the toilet before that baby drowned. I didn’t need to be there to know that. It’s called common sense. Something a lot of people don’t have apparently. She’s not the first person to deliver a baby in the toilet. I never blamed the grandmother. I don’t care what you know or think you know. My opinion is the baby did not have to drown. It could have been saved. Nothing you tell me….no facts you try to throw at me will convince me other wise.

      • bmujahid

        Funny how you now also assume the exact length of time it took for the child to be born along with how long it was alive before drowning. All assumptions on your part that the judge and prosecutor were better able to determine than you. Babies have been born en route to the hospital. No one times how long labor will last. They come at the time and speed that they are ready to be born, not based on our assumptions. You also assume the mother was in a state of mind where she could rationally decide what to do in the middle of labor. It seems you just want to paint these people in a malicious light. The judge has spoken and the matter is closed. This woman now has to try to repair her shattered life after experiencing two tragedies. Give that some consideration.

      • moe

        First of I never said that they let the baby drown on purpose so read it again and get your facts straight before you comment. Also aren’t you the one that said the baby drowned BECAUSE the mother was laying on the bathroom floor after giving birth and the grandmother was trying to help her. Yup…I’m sure you did. I said it was stupidity that let that baby drown. The mother had plenty of time to realize she had delivered a baby and then pull that baby out of the toilet before that baby drowned. I didn’t need to be there to know that. It’s called common sense. Something a lot of people don’t have apparently. She’s not the first person to deliver a baby in the toilet. I never blamed the grandmother. I don’t care what you know or think you know. My opinion is the baby did not have to drown. It could have been saved. Nothing you tell me….no facts you try to throw at me will convince me other wise.

      • sw

        You must have forgotten that her and her mother were both charged with first degree murder. Her mother happen to have a heart attack and die before the trial. They believed they had enough evidence to charge them with first degree. I believe they actually felt sorry for the girl and reduced the charge. I have no sympathy for anyone who would let an innocent infant who depends on you die. It’s time this country starts putting a little more worth on the life of the babies in this country. Stop defending this girl.

  • jenny

    How was it that I got more about the story from the comments than I did from the article itself? This Is my biggest gripe with stories written like this: its only a brief synopsis, as though everyone already knows the story and the article just hits high points to jog memory. Please include more info, like in this situation, how it was that the baby drowned. Simply giving birth on a toilet does not equal drowning, yet this story was phrased that way. Details, details, details, WTVR!

    • sw

      @Jenny the baby drowned because it landed head first in the toilet and no one bothered to take it out.

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