Judge agrees to deferred sentence in hot vehicle death of foster child
A man charged with second-degree manslaughter after leaving his 3-month-old foster baby in a parked vehicle has received a two year-deferred sentence.
Billy D. Allen, 46, of Geronimo was sentenced on Tuesday by Special District Judge Ken Harris after entering a blind plea one with no recommendation from the prosecution on sentencing.
Allen also was fined $500 and his foster parentage was terminated.
Defendant testifies about tragedy
Allen testified before somber family and friends in Comanche County District Court as he shared the events leading up to the death of Mame Neta Attocknie, whom Allen accidently left in a parked vehicle on Sept. 20, 2016.
The courtroom remained mournful as Allen, who shed tears, and three witnesses spoke about Allen, Mame Neta and the accident.
Allen, who has worked in law enforcement for about 25 years, told Harris that last fall he completed the same routine every day: He worked the night shift for the Fort Sill Police Department, then went home to pick up his boys and take them to school before he went to sleep.
However, on the morning of Sept. 20, his wife, Julie Allen, had asked him to also take the baby with him, and he was supposed to drop her off at day care, Allen told Harris. But he never took her.
When Allen woke up around 4:30 in the afternoon, he began cooking dinner and asked his teenage son to drive to the Dollar General Store; neither Allen nor his son realized that the baby lay lifeless in the backseat. After his son drove away, Allen's wife called and told him Mame Neta was not at day care, Allen said.
Both Billy and Julie Allen then arrived at the store and found the baby unconscious in the backseat of the vehicle, Allen said. Temperatures hovered in the mid-90s on the afternoon she died.
Allen told Harris that he tried to comfort his wife and son as he watched the medical and police personnel pull in to the parking lot outside the store.
Each witness who took the stand in court on Tuesday spoke well of Billy Allen as a foster parent and as a father, and the prosecutor said he did not believe there was anyone in the courtroom who would interpret this case as anything but "an accident."
Mame Neta's birth parents were not present, but her grandfather, Patrick Attocknie, testified about his relationship with the baby and the Allen family.
Attocknie, who shed tears at the stand, said every chance he could he spent time with Mama Neta, whose name means "sweet little thing" in Comanche, and he respects the Allens for openly inviting him and his wife into the baby's life.
He added that in any tragic situation, there is a degree of "animosity," but having prayed to God about the situation, Attocknie said he forgives Allen and hopes Allen is able to live the future years of his life abundantly.
Allen told Harris he had previously apologized to Attocknie and his wife, and Attocknie said his wife and Allen's wife have kept in contact with one another since the baby's death.