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Amarillo Globe News
Sunday, October 17, 1999
DALLAS (AP) – A 34-year-old woman was sentenced to life in prison Friday for killing a 15-month-old daughter with an overdose of prescription and over-the-counter drugs during an apparent murder-suicide attempt.
A former boyfriend found Stacy Dorane Nzeakor unconscious and her two daughters dead in their residence on Nov. 17, 1998.
Capital murder charges were filed a month later after autopsies revealed large quantities of adult medication were found in Joelle Vallet, 15 months, and Tianna Nzeakor, 8.
Jurors took 90 minutes to convict her. She must serve 40 years before being considered for parole.
A medical examiner estimated that when she died, Joelle had four to 14 adult allergy tablets and one to two doses of antidepressants in her system. Tianna had an estimated four to seven doses of antidepressants and 13 to 44 allergy tablets, the expert testified.
Including the medicine Nzeakor fed herself, she used 30 antidepressants, 16 over-the-counter sleeping pills, 32 allergy pills and a number of Tylenol PM pills.
“We found glasses where the medicine was dissolved in liquid,” Dallas police Sgt. Jim Chandler said after the arrest last year. “Probably what saved her is that she vomited.”
Prosecutor Patricia Hogue argued Friday that Nzeakor couldn’t have accidentally crushed up dozens of pills and snipped off the ends of dozens of capsules. She said Nzeakor couldn’t have then accidentally mixed the powder into juice and unintentionally fed it to the children and herself.
Hogue argued that when Nzeakor didn’t die as planned, she came up with a story to tell her friends so they would feel sorry for her.
Defense attorney Brook Busbee argued for conviction on a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, saying Nzeakor didn’t mean to harm the children. Nzeakor did not testify, but friends said she told them she hadn’t slept for two weeks before the night of the overdoses.
Nzeakor said she took sleeping pills because she couldn’t rest despite her exhaustion and that she gave Tianna medicine to help the ill child sleep. They said she told them she gave Joelle medicine to sleep so she wouldn’t hurt herself while she and the child’s older sister were sleeping.