Posted on Jun 07, 2024

A Columbus woman was sentenced to 10 to 14 years in prison for injecting her 9-month-old infant with opioids, nearly killing the child.

Stephanie Whitley, 27, entered guilty plea to charges of felonious assault, endangering children and tampering with evidence.

On Aug. 30, 2022, Whitley was arrested after Columbus police got a call from Nationwide Children's Hospital about a 9-month-old undergoing treatment. Staff at the hospital alerted police after a hospital staff member saw Whitley inject an unknown substance into the baby with a syringe.

The infant was admitted into the intensive care unit and had to be resuscitated after undergoing cardiac arrest. Whitley would not tell police what type of substance she injected the baby with at the hospital.

Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Melinda Killworth said it was difficult for the lab to analyze the syringe Whitley used, but that it was found to contain an opiate and chemicals present in cough syrup. The baby likely felt like it “was being burned from the inside,” she said.

It’s not yet clear whether the child will suffer any long-term damage as a result of the injection. Defense attorney Adam Nemann said Whitley, who appeared in court with bandages covering one forearm and visible scratches on the other, suffered from mental illnesses including bipolar disorder, PTSD and a dissociative disorder.

In a short, tearful statement to the court, Whitley said she was sorry and loved her children. She sobbed when the sentence was read and could be heard saying “it’s not fair” as she was led out of the courtroom.

Adam Lee Nemann
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Trial and Defense Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Law at Capital University, founder of Nemann Law Offices

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