A woman who overdosed on heroin in the presence of young children at a Cincinnati McDonald’s play area, entered a guilty plea Monday to a child endangerment charge. There is a possibility that she could be released in less than two months time.
Tamica Lynn Jeffers, would not acknowledge using heroin at McDonalds, but instead claimed that she had suffered a seizure at the fast food restaurant. However, after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors in Hamilton County court, the 33-year old mom rendered a guilty plea, and the state dismissed a second misdemeanor charge of child endangerment.
Police officers present during her sentencing strongly refuted Jeffers rendition of the McDonald’s incident, and expressed deep concern for her two children who are presently in Indiana state custody.
Judge Fanon Rucker handed down a sentence of six months in jail, however, he suspended half of it and took off 42 days for time served since her arrest. As it stands now, Jeffers is looking at another 48 days of incarceration before she is set free.
Appearing in the courtroom with tears streaming down her face, Jeffers, of Dillboro, Indiana, emphatically denied using heroin, claiming to the judge that she suffered a seizure on March 9, after witnessing her boyfriend overdose on the drug in a McDonald’s indoor play area. According to police, her boyfriend, Robert Palmer, “essentially died” but was able to be revived by a fellow police officer.
At the time of the overdose, Jeffer’s two children, an 8-year old boy and a five-year old girl, who turned 6 during Jeffers confinement, were present. Palmer is the young girl’s father.
“I was in shock because when I went over to him, he was blue. His lips were blue. He was not responding to me,” Jeffers said through tears. “I am remorseful my kids had to see their dad like that and me like that.”
Jeffers told the judge that she had no knowledge of Palmer’s interest in the drug until one week prior to the event. As far as she knew, her boyfriend was taking prescription meds due to cancer and Crohn’s disease, she claimed.
Jeffers alleged that she has been experiencing seizures ever since November, after suffering a head trauma injury. She did offer that that she takes prescription drugs, but insisted that was the extent of it. Jeffers contends the seizure was brought on by the stress of her boyfriend’s overdose.
Cpl. Tom Icenogle of the Green Township police department, refuted Jeffers account while in court on Monday. Icenogle was present at the hospital that fateful day when the couple arrived via ambulance.
“She told me her name, address, everything else. She was coherent,” Icenogle told the judge. “Then I told her that if she did use heroin like her boyfriend said, then she needed to let the nurse know. Then she turned and looked at the nurse and told her that she had used heroin.”
Upon concluding the hearing, Icenogle said Jeffers admitted to using heroin on a monthly basis.
“I don’t buy that seizure thing at all,” Icenogle said.
Fellow Green Township police officer, Scott Celender, was the first officer at the scene after the 911 call and was responsible for successfully reviving Palmer using chest compressions.
Celender stated in court that his main concern regarding this case is the safety and well being of Jeffers’ children, who are presently in the care of Indiana Child Protective Services.
“They were right there as dad fell to the floor and essentially died, because he was dead at the scene … Then she goes into her spell and the kids are just crying away,” Celender said. “A citizen came up and escorted the kids out of the site. Quite frankly, had they not by the grace of God been in the care of reasonable people, someone could have easily just walked right out the door with them, and that is the issue.”
Palmer, 37, was sentenced last week to six months of jail time. He does have prior misdemeanor convictions.
Lenient Sentence for Mom Who Overdosed on Heroin at McDonald’s Play Area