UPDATE: Parole could reduce 50 year sentence for Onawa, IA, woman
Ashley Cameron is sentenced on Friday.
ONAWA, Iowa (KTIV) -
A judge has sentenced Onawa, Iowa, mom Ashley Cameron to 50 years in prison after she drowned her 15 month old son in the bathtub last year, but she could be out of prison much sooner than that despite her conviction on charges of involuntarily manslaughter and child endangerment
Cameron and her attorney knew this sentencing was coming.
"It's going to be a period of incarceration, not to exceed 50 years. I'm going to run the two sentences concurrently, so it doesn't exceed the 50 years," said Hon. Jeffrey Neary, district court judge for Monona County.
Before Neary announced the sentence, Cameron said, "whatever you judge against me is fair and I'll accept it for what I did do, for leaving the bathroom." A maximum sentence of 50 years was on the table after Markis Dahms' death.
"Frankly speaking, the additional sentence of two years on top of 50 would mean very, very little to the ultimate outcome, as to the time that Miss Cameron's going to serve," said Neary.
On top of prison time, Cameron must pay thousands of dollars in restitution to Dahms' father, Grant.
"For a long period of time, and maybe forever, frankly, payments that are made by Miss Cameron will go toward that $150,000," said Neary.
While she's behind bars, Cameron will be evaluated by the parole board. They'll consider things like criminal history, the nature of the crime, and likelihood that Cameron will commit a crime again.
"This particular defendant scores low in most of these categories, which is another thing that makes me uneasy. I think it could be that she is back out in the community in as little as four years," said Ian McConeghey, assistant county attorney for Monona County.
Plus, there were a few other concerns for McConeghey.
"She's very young. She could be having more children and who knows what could happen to those children," said McConeghey.
McConaghey say's it's up to the board to determine how long Cameron actually spends in prison.
"That's what makes me uneasy about this sentence. There is no mandatory minimum. The board of parole could let her out at any time, they decide she is ready to re-enter society," said McConeghey.
From here, Cameron will go to Oakdale, Iowa, where she'll be evaluated at a classification center, before moving on to a women's prison somewhere in the state.
Cameron also has thousands of dollars in fees to the county that she will have to pay after she finishes the restitution payments. Her attorney says it's possible for her to file an appeal, but he says they won't do that.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Kathy Clayton at (712) 239-4100 x209. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.