‘Methadone Grandma’ enters an Alford plea

Prince Frederick, MD - A Calvert County woman accused of drugging her grandchild with methadone last February entered an Alford plea to an amended charge of second-degree assault and a regular guilty plea of neglect of a minor Wednesday, Jan. 24 in Circuit Court. The defendant, Judith Anne Badrian Tetreault, 56 of Lusby, has been free on bail since last May. She had been indicted last March on six counts, including first-degree child abuse with severe physical injuries and attempted poisoning.

As part of the plea agreement, a charge of second-degree child abuse was amended to second-degree assault. An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt but a concession that the state likely has enough evidence to convict the defendant on that charge. Tetreault, who is scheduled to be sentenced March 7, has been accepted into a detention center drug treatment program. Judge Mark Chandlee told the defendant that he may allow Tetreault to serve her sentence on home detention if she successfully completes the program.

Calvert County Deputy State’s Attorney Kathryn Marsh read the statement of facts into the record. The events leading up to the child’s hospitalization occurred at Tetreault’s home Feb. 9, 2017. The defendant was caring for her grandson who was 17-months-old at the time. Court records show Tetreault texted the child’s mother that he would not stop crying and later that he had a hard stomach. Subsequent texts from Tetreault to the child’s mother stated, “don’t be mad at me” and “I didn’t drug him.” According to Marsh, after the child was picked up later in the day, his mother observed that he was “fading in and out of consciousness.” The child was taken to Calvert Memorial Hospital where he tested positive for methadone. Physicians administered several doses of Narcan before the child was transported to Georgetown University Hospital Center. According to court records, a search warrant was executed at Tetreault’s home. The search yielded numerous methadone bottles and a methadone “eye-dropper.” Despite the child’s lethargic condition, Marsh stated that the defendant “didn’t call 911 to get any medical help.” Marsh explained the assault charge came from the use of the eye dropper while the neglect charge was the result of Tetreault not calling for medical assistance.

After the statement of facts was presented by Marsh, Tetreault’s attorney, public defender Luke E. Woods, told Chandlee his client denies administering methadone to the child and contends the boy may have gotten ahold of an open bottle in the house. Marsh told the judge that the child’s mother hopes Tetreault was only trying to ease the child’s pain with the drug.

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