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October 31, 2014

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Prison for mom in boy’s sippy-cup methadone death

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AP Photo/Toole County Jail via The Salt Lake Tribune

An undated photo provided by the Tooele, Utah, County Jail shows Jill Goff, whose 2-year-old son died after she accidently fed him methadone from a Gatorade bottle. Goff was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014.

TOOELE, Utah — A Utah woman whose 2-year-old son died after police say she inadvertently poured her methadone from a Gatorade bottle into his sippy cup will serve up to 15 years in prison.

Third District Judge Robert Adkins gave 33-year-old Jill Goff prison time Tuesday against the recommendation of prosecutors and defense attorneys, who said the Tooele mom made a horrible mistake.

Despite giving the maximum punishment, Adkins said it didn't appear Jill Goff deliberately gave her son methadone and that it was a troubling case for him, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Goff pleaded guilty in June to a child abuse homicide charge. She told police that on Jan. 31, she poured her son Aiden a drink of pink liquid from a bottle she kept on the floor near her bed.

When the boy said he didn't like it, she had her other two children, a 5-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy, try the drink. Goff told police she realized she served them liquid methadone instead of Gatorade when the older boy said it tasted like medicine, according to court documents.

Goff said the toddler vomited, and she gave him a bath and then laid him down for a nap. Another 14-year-old sibling picked up the boy less than three hours later so they could watch TV together and found he wasn't breathing. Paramedics pronounced the toddler dead at the Tooele home. Goff was arrested the next day.

Goff told police she didn't call paramedics or poison control as soon as she realized he had ingested the drug because she was scared.

The two other children who tried the drink were hospitalized for observation after they also tested positive for methadone, which Goff had been prescribed.

"Had she known for sure what was happening, she would have done whatever she could to change the outcome," said Goff's attorney, Jacob Linares.

Prosecutor Gary Searle told the judge Goff didn't try to kill her son on purpose and said a prison sentence doesn't help anybody.

"It's not going to bring her child back," Searle said. "It's not going to serve any purpose . but satisfy the lust for vengeance."

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