Crime & Courts

Mom pleads no contest in baby's death

A Great Bend woman charged with attacking her 3 1/2-month-old son in his Wichita hospital room in 2008 pleaded no contest Monday to second-degree reckless murder, an official said.

Megan Mott's no-contest plea in Sedgwick County District Court came the same day that jury selection was scheduled to begin in her trial, said district attorney's spokeswoman Georgia Cole.

Mott, 25, who had been charged with second-degree intentional murder, pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of second-degree reckless murder, Cole said.

Her defense attorney couldn't be reached for comment. But the District Attorney's Office provided this account, from Assistant District Attorney Donna Longsworth, about its basis for prosecuting:

On Jan. 29, 2008, Mott's 3 1/2-month-old son, Robby Cox, had been lying in a crib in his hospital room at Wesley Medical Center. He had been at the hospital for about a month, initially admitted for a respiratory virus. He had recovered from the virus "but was still being treated to determine the cause of his failing to thrive," according to the account from the District Attorney's Office.

The infant remained attached to monitors showing his oxygen and blood-pressure levels.

Early that morning, when the monitors in Robby's room began to go off, nurses rushed into his room.

The nurses saw Mott place Robby down into his crib and realized that he was not breathing, that he was turning blue and that his head was swelling.

Doctors found skull fractures and other injuries, including "a clear impact mark" and rib fractures, according to the District Attorney's Office.

"These were acute fractures occurring during the time that Robby was alone in that hospital room with his mother," according to an e-mail from the District Attorney's Office.

Robby died from the injuries on Feb. 1, 2008. The autopsy report confirms that the injuries caused his death.

The report, a public document obtained by The Eagle, says that Robby died of "blunt trauma of the head."

Mott told detectives that night that the injuries must have occurred while she was carrying Robby, according to the District Attorney's Office.

"She said that she tripped, Robby flew out of her arms, hitting the crib but she caught him before he hit the ground," the DA's e-mail said.

The coroner determined that "a significant amount of force was necessary to cause the injuries to Robby which resulted in his death."

Mott's statements "were inconsistent with the force necessary to have inflicted the skull fractures and other injuries," it said.

Wesley Medical Center spokesman Paul Petitte said Monday: "We want every patient and family member to feel safe at Wesley. That's why we did an extensive internal review to ensure we followed proper procedure, and which we did.

"And we are saddened for other family members who had to deal with this, and (we) did everything in our power to save this child's life."

Robby's death was one of eight Wichita child homicides in 2008.

Seven of the eight deaths occurred from abuse or neglect, police said.

Mott is scheduled to be sentenced May 20.