Tampa grandmother accused of driving drunk, killing baby wants lighter sentence behind bars
TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa grandmother accused of driving drunk and killing her 10-month-old grandchild has been out on bond since last March.
Helen Mention, 52, passed on a plea deal offered by Prosecutor Christine Brown in a virtual court hearing Tuesday. Brown said the deal included 15 years in prison followed by two years of community control and three years of drug offenders probation.
Mention wanted a much lighter sentence of four years behind bars. She suggested pleading guilty in open court and letting the judge decide her fate.
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In October 2019, reports show Mention was driving drunk when she hit a guard rail on Mango Road near the westbound entrance of I-4. Prosecutors said baby Harlem, who was sitting on her lap, was crushed to death.
Mention's attorney requested what’s called an "advisory" from the judge. That when the judge reviews all the facts of the case, including evidence provided by the prosecution and the defense to bolster their sentence request. The court then advises both sides how he or she may rule when it comes to a sentence.
Tampa Judge Barbara Twine-Thomas didn’t give them a number, but more like a range.
"I’m not convinced that four years would be appropriate, and I’m equally not convinced that 15 years is required under the circumstances," said Twine-Thomas.
Mention is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and DUI manslaughter. Her next court date is set for August 17.