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Mom took drugs with tot in car, prosecutor says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The trial of a woman prosecutors say shot up heroin while her 2-year-old son was with her in a car began Monday.

Susan Nicole Adkins, 39, of Charleston, is charged with child neglect creating risk of injury or death. The charge carries a penalty of one to five years in prison.

On July 9, Adkins drove her car into an alley near McQueen and Red Oak streets on Charleston's West Side. While her son was strapped in his car seat in the back of the car, Adkins passed out after injecting herself with heroin, according to prosecutors.

Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Fred Giggenbach told the jury of seven men and seven women that although the boy wasn't physically injured, Adkins placed him in a risky situation in a dangerous neighborhood.

"Eighty-five degrees outside, 4:45 p.m., Mom decides to put [the boy] in the back of the car, nobody else there, she decides this is a good time to inject herself with drugs -- which appears to be heroin, based on the drug test from the hospital," Giggenbach said.

Adkins' attorney, Richard Holicker, told jurors, however, that they can't decide the case based on whether they thought the child "may have" ended up injured.

"She hasn't been a perfect mother, but the case isn't about that," Holicker said.

Several young boys in the neighborhood saw Adkins passed out in the car and heard her son crying, prosecutors say. They called out to Leslie Jackson, who lives nearby.

Jackson told jurors that when she approached the car, Adkins was unconscious and slumped over in her seat. She instructed a neighbor to call 911.

"I looked, and there was a soda can cut in half, aluminum foil with black stuff in it, and a spoon," Jackson said, adding she also noticed a needle in the car.

Prosecutors also planned to call firefighters and police officers that responded to the scene to testify.

The trial continues Tuesday in front of Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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