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S.C. mom sentenced for murder of baby by morphine delivered through breast milk

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On April 3, a Spartanburg County jury found South Carolina mom, Stephanie Greene, 39, guilty of killing her 6-week-old daughter by overdosing the newborn on morphine that was said to have been delivered through the mother’s milk while breastfeeding.

On April 4, Greene received a minimal sentence of 20 years in prison on her charge of homicide by child abuse, according to MSN. The former nurse could have been sentenced to life.

Her lawyer said she will appeal and it's likely the case will be tied up for years to come. Both the prosecutor and Greene's lawyer agree no mother has ever been prosecuted in the United States for killing her child through a substance transmitted in breast milk.

Greene’s attorney, Rauch Wise, argued that prosecutors in the case were never able to prove how the lethal levels of morphine actually came to be in the baby’s system.

Greene’s daughter was found dead at home when she was only 46-days-old back in November 2010. The autopsy on baby Alexis revealed a level of morphine found in the baby’s system that could have deadly even to an adult.

With no needle marks on the child's body, authorities decided the drugs must have gotten into the infant through her mother's milk, prosecutor Barry Barnette said.

Greene hid the fact that she was pregnant from her primary care doctor and also hid the fact that she was regularly consuming pain killer medication. Reportedly, Greene’s substance abuse continued during the time she was breastfeeding her baby.

"She was a nurse. She knew how to work the system," Barnette said.

"She caused the loss of that child."

Greene will have to spend a minimum of 16 years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole.

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