CASE UPDATE: Mother sentenced to state prison for death of infant son

CASE UPDATE:  Commonwealth v. Kathryn Jacoby:  Kathryn Jacoby was sentenced to serve a total of 2 years to 6 years in state prison plus an additional consecutive five year term of probation.  This was the sentence handed down on February 20, 2018, by Dauphin County Judge Deborah Curcillo to Jacoby on the charges of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering the welfare of children.   Jacoby pleaded guilty to those charges on December 20, 2017, as a result of the August 31, 2016, drowning death of her 12 month old son William. 

On August 31, 2016, at 2:34 in the afternoon, Harrisburg Police officers and Emergency Medical Service providers were dispatched to Jacoby's Derry Street home for the report of a child that fell into a bathtub.  William Jacoby, 12 months old, was transported to Harrisburg Hospital for treatment.  He was later transferred to Hershey Medical Center.  Hospital personnel were unable to revive William Jacoby and he was declared deceased.  Kathryn Jacoby was the sole caretaker of William Jacoby during the critical time period related to his death.  She was interviewed by detectives from the Harrisburg Bureau of Police.  During her interview she provided the police with several inconsistent versions of the sequence of events that lead to her son’s death.   

During a subsequent interview with detectives, she admitted to leaving William Jacoby along with his two-year-old sister in her home’s upstairs bathtub unattended for a period of time.  She admitted to the police that while her children were unattended in the second floor bathroom, she was downstairs talking on the phone for at least 22 minutes.  Jacoby admitted to the police that she consumed marijuana and alcohol prior to placing her children in the bathtub.  Jacoby consented to a chemical test of her blood.  This test revealed the presence of marijuana in her system as well as a BAC of .150%.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Seán M. McCormack argued during the sentencing hearing that a state prison sentence was warranted in this case.  After the sentencing hearing McCormack commented, "Not only did she fail to properly supervise her children which resulted in the death of her infant son, she was drunk and under the influence of a controlled substance at the time her children needed her most.  It was also telling that since that tragic day she has done nothing to deal with her substance abuse issues.  In fact, the presentence report indictates she admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana only days prior to her presentence interview."