AURORA, Colo. – Two Aurora parents face misdemeanor child abuse charges stemming from the co-sleeping deaths of two of their infant children that happened in 2014 and 2016.
Gregory Tyler Newton, 27, and Tierra Collins, 28, had warrants for their arrest on the charges issued and served in late February.
But since the causes of death for both children were deemed “undetermined” in autopsies, both face only two second-degree misdemeanor charges for child abuse without injury knowingly or recklessly caused.
If convicted, each would face a maximum penalty of a year in jail and $1,000 fine for each charge.
The first child died in July 2014 and the second died in late June 2016.
In both cases, Newton and Collins had been sleeping with the child after allegedly drinking and using marijuana, according to arrest affidavits for both.
It’s unclear in the affidavits exactly what caused the children’s deaths, but in both cases, Collins was alleged to have been inebriated and difficult to wake when they babies were found not breathing. Collins’ brother found the baby in 2014 and Newton found the child last year.
Also in both instances, police investigating the cases found their home to be filthy: littered with liquor and beer empties, cigarette butts, dirty diapers and other trash.
Also in both cases, according to the affidavits, Collins appeared unaffected by the fact her babies weren’t breathing. The affidavits also say that Collins had drank and smoked throughout her first pregnancy, and continued to drink occasionally during the pregnancy with the second child. A person who knows the couple described her as an alcoholic.
In both cases, coroners noted that neither baby was found with any obvious trauma and tested negative for drugs and alcohol. But both noted that the babies were in an “unsafe sleep environment,” though the causes and manners of death of both children were both deemed “undetermined.”
Collins took part in the Family Nursing Partnership Program, which brings a nurse to a new mother’s home to educate them in preventative health practices during pre- and post-natal care.
The nurse who worked with Collins repeatedly told her it was unsafe to sleep with her children, but Collins continued to do so, saying that was the way she was brought up, according to the affidavit.
Collins had status hearings in 18th Judicial District Court on March 1 and 7. A pretrial conference for her case is set for April 24. Newton is due in court April 10.