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Mother pleads guilty to child abuse resulting in death for daughter's fentanyl overdose

Sentencing for Emma Staton scheduled for July 3
Posted at 11:46 AM, Apr 21, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — A mother charged with the fentanyl-related overdose death of her 4-year-old daughter pleaded guilty in an El Paso courtroom as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Emma Staton was arrested last summer on charges of child abuse resulting in death, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia after her daughter's death outside a truck stop.

According to the arrest affidavit, the mother left fentanyl pills on a bathroom windowsill within Acelynn Staton-Contreras' reach, administered Narcan more than once to counteract an overdose, was not truthful to officers who came to the home after a 911 call, and put the child in a car to drive to a hospital rather than calling for an ambulance.

Staton called 911 a second time from the parking lot of Love’s Truck Stop along I-25 in Fountain after her daughter stopped breathing. The girl was pronounced dead at the scene. The El Paso County Coroner’s Office determined the 4-year-old died of an overdose.

Acelynn Staton-Contreras died at 4 years old after being exposed to fentanyl.
Acelynn Staton-Contreras died at 4 years old after being exposed to fentanyl.

Staton admitted in court she had pills in the vicinity of her child. The prosecutor noted that is sufficient admittance of guilt for the plea, even though there were many factors that resulted in Acelynn’s death.

As for the other charges, she simply admitted she was in possession of fentanyl pills and drug paraphernalia.

Sentencing is set for July 3 and is expected to be a half-day event with victim impact statements. The defendant's bond was revoked. She will remain in custody until sentencing.

The judge has ordered any statements given during sentencing must be addressed to the judge and not to Emma Staton directly or anyone else in the courtroom. The judge has asked for written statements to be delivered before the hearing.

If Staton had gone to trial on the felony child abuse resulting in death charge, she faced from 16 to 48 years in prison, plus a potential fine from $5,000 to $1 million.

READ MORE: Affidavit: 4-year-old who died of overdose found fentanyl pills stored on windowsill

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