SPARTANBURG, S.C., April 4 (UPI) -- A former nurse was sentenced Friday to 20 years in a South Carolina prison for killing her 6-week-old daughter with breast milk containing high levels of morphine.
Stephanie Greene, 39, of Campobello was convicted Thursday after a three-week trial. She was given 20 years for homicide by child abuse and a total of 10 years on other charges to run concurrently.
Barry Barnette, a prosecutor, said Greene has 39 charges of obtaining prescription drugs fraudulently.
Alexis Catherine Greene died in 2010 when she was only 46 days old. A coroner found potentially fatal morphine levels in her system.
During his closing statement, Barnette told jurors Greene "knew how to work the system" to obtain prescriptions. He said she did not tell the doctors who prescribed her morphine that she was nursing.
“She loved her drugs more than she loved her child,” Barnette said.
Defense lawyer Rauch Wise described Greene as a woman suffering from chronic pain. He said morphine is routinely prescribed to women who are nursing and there has never been a documented case of its killing a baby.
“They've made Stephanie Greene out to be a demon -- drug seeking, drug addict demon -- someone who has no concern for her child,” Wise said. “Stephanie Greene is a woman in pain.”
Jurors deliberated for less than four hours Thursday before returning a guilty verdict. Greene was jailed immediately.