AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 26 (UPI) — The mother of a toddler who died of methamphetamine poisoning was sentenced to at least 22 years in prison in Ohio.
Heather Lerch, 21 — who was convicted of murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering — was given a life term Tuesday, with a minimum of 22 years without parole eligibility, the Akron Beacon-Journal reported. Ronald Scott Legg, 22, the older brother of Lerch’s boyfriend, received a life sentence with no parole for at least 27 years.
Patrick Nicholas Lerch was 17 months old when paramedics found him dead at a house in Akron. Witnesses said Legg, who pleaded guilty last week to murder and drug manufacture, put a coffee filter full of methamphetamine in the toddler’s mouth.
Kimberly Clark of Barberton, Ohio, a relative who provided a home for Lerch and her son for three months, rescuing them from a homeless shelter, read a victim impact statement.
She told Legg she and her husband plan to attend all his parole hearings.
“He didn’t ask for this. He didn’t ask to be down in that basement to be tortured by rats,” Clark said. “He was a beautiful, beautiful, happy child when he left my house. He was full of life, and you took it away from him. I don’t see how you can live with yourself.”
Allen Kostra, 25, who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, received a nine-year sentence. Kostra acknowledged he spent most of the weekend before Patrick’s death using methamphetamine with Legg.
Randy Legg, 20, Lerch’s boyfriend, pleaded guilty last week to involuntary manslaughter and a drug charge. He is to be sentenced in October.