MAYS LANDING – A 32-year-old Ventnor woman pled guilty today to Aggravated Manslaughter for the death in January of her 7-month-old daughter, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton announced.
In response to a 9-1-1 call, officers of the Ventnor City Police Department and emergency medical personnel responded in the early morning of Friday, January 3, 2016 to a residence on the 5700 block of Monmouth Avenue, Ventnor, NJ, for a report of an unresponsive infant. Upon arrival, CPR was performed and the baby was transported to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center—City Division, then transferred to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s Unit also responded to the scene.
The child’s mother, Lisa M. Scalia, now 32, of the same address, was charged on January 4, 2016 with Endangering the Welfare of a Child—a crime of the 2nd degree, and four counts of Possession of Controlled dangerous Substances: suboxone, oxycodone, heroin, and Lyrica. Scalia was arrested and lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility on $100,000 full cash bail set by Municipal Court Judge Mary C. Siracusa. The State alleged that Scalia, while being under the influence of narcotics, rolled onto the baby causing her injury.
The child was pronounced dead at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children Friday, January 8, 2016.
The continuing investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the Ventnor City Police Department resulted in Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton’s authorization on September 27, 2016 to charge Scalia with Aggravated Manslaughter—a crime of the 1st degree.
The State alleges that Scalia did “recklessly cause the death of [the child] under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, specifically by administering methadone, a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance, to [the child] which caused her death while under the clear custody and care of Lisa Scalia.”
Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office detectives served the complaint-warrant to Scalia September 27, 2016, at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, where she had been held since her arrest last January. Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Damon G. Tyner set bail on the new charge at $100,000, cash only.
Today, Thursday, December 8, 2016, as part of a negotiated plea agreement, Lisa Scalia pled guilty to 2nd degree Aggravated Manslaughter, before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Blee.
According to the plea agreement, Scalia is subject to a sentence of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison for 8 years. Pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), Scalia must serve 85% of the sentence—6 years and 9 months—before becoming eligible for parole.
Acting First Assistant Prosecutor Pam D’Arcy represented the State in the matter.
These charges are merely an accusation and not proof of guilt. In all criminal cases, a charged defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.