Woman sentenced to nine years for overdose of child in Peach County hotel

bpurser@macon.comMay 28, 2014 

Traci Ann Allen

FORT VALLEY -- A Kentucky woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter and possession of methadone with intent to distribute in the 2010 death of her daughter at a Peach County hotel.

Traci Ann Allen, 41, was sentenced to nine years in prison and 11 years probation. A special condition of the probation is that she may not serve as a guardian of a child 18 or younger or have contact with a child 18 or younger without supervision.

Allen, who also goes by the names of Traci Asberry and Traci Woods, was previously indicted by a Peach County grand jury on two counts of felony murder in her daughter’s death.

District Attorney David Cooke said Allen was returning from a “pill mill” in Florida with her five children when her car broke down on Interstate 75 in Peach County. She had more than 100 different types of narcotics, he said.

The family rented at room at the Knights Inn at Ga. 247.

Her 8-year-old daughter, Hannah Bayne, had a heart condition that caused her to have panic attacks. During an attack, Allen, who was intoxicated on pills, unintentionally gave her child a lethal dose of methadone, Cooke said.

Allen told the court that her selfish behavior and carelessness led to the death of her beloved daughter. She said saying “I’m sorry” or any punishment could never be enough to compensate for her child’s death.

Outside of the courtroom, Cooke said the girl was thought to be asleep in the hotel room when her siblings attempted to wake her. Allen had asked the other children to tell the girl to come into the room with her.

Cooke said he took into consideration that Allen stepped forward and took responsibility for the child’s death, her remorse in the loss of her daughter and Allen’s degree of intoxication on drugs.

“This is a drug-addicted mother who made a fatal mistake,” Cooke said.

The negotiated plea and sentence recommendation was reached after about six months of negotiations, said Allen’s attorney, Drew Findling of Atlanta.

He noted Allen had prescriptions for all of the narcotics. That’s significant in that the criminal charge could only be in connection to reckless conduct and not possession of narcotics necessary for a felony murder charge. Felony murder is when someone dies in the commission of another felony. Reckless conduct falls under involuntary manslaughter, he said.

Findling said he’s hopeful that the state parole board will take into consideration Allen’s heartfelt loss and that she came forward and took responsibility for her reckless conduct.

Several of Allen’s family members, including her husband, drove from Kentucky to attend the hearing, Findling said.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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