Arizona woman sentenced for murder after baby's fentanyl death | Phoenix New Times

Arizona woman gets 11.5 years for murder after baby’s fentanyl death

Gabrielle Marshall's son died after getting into her fentanyl-laced opiates. She'd previously been investigated for neglect.
Opioid bottles
K-State Research and Extension/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
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In 2022, the Arizona Department of Child Safety sought in-home custody and monitoring of Emery Patterson, a Scottsdale infant the department said had been neglected by his parents. After three months, the department’s petition for custody was dismissed.

Later that year, Patterson died after ingesting fentanyl-laced opiates left out by his mother, Gabrielle Marshall. He was 13 months old.

On Friday, Marshall was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison for second-degree murder and child abuse. She was credited 590 days already served while awaiting the decision. When her prison term is complete, Marshall will be on probation for 10 years.

Marshall pleaded guilty in April. Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced the sentence Monday.

“Losing a child is an immeasurable agony,” Mitchell said in a press release, “but knowing that because of your addiction your child is gone is something this mother will have to live with for the rest of her life.”

According to Arizona law, a person can commit second-degree murder when they have created circumstances that show “extreme indifference to human life” or if they recklessly engage in conduct that “creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death of another person.”

Patterson died on Sept. 19, 2022, after getting “into (Marshall’s) opiates,” according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. Scottsdale police received a 911 call that day about a 13-month-old child who had consumed the extremely potent substance. When officers arrived, it was too late to save the baby.

“The child was cold to the touch, had been administered Narcan, and pronounced deceased at the hospital,” Mitchell’s office wrote in a press release.

The county attorney’s office noted that officers found drug paraphernalia in various places around the residence but did not specify any further details.

In 2019 and 2020, prior to Patterson’s death, ADCS received two reports of neglect of a different child by Marshall and an unnamed man. Both allegations were unsubstantiated, according to the department, and the cases were closed.

On Aug. 24, 2021 — soon after Patterson’s birth — a third neglect allegation was made, which the department substantiated. ADCS filed a petition for in-home dependency — meaning the department would maintain custody of Patterson while he lived at home, with Marshall and the father subject to court monitoring — but the petition was denied in June 2022.

Patterson died three months later. In its fatality report, ADCS determined Marshall’s other child was safe in the custody of the unidentified father.
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