Sentencing delayed in baby meth overdose case


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Heather Elam appears in court in Lemhi County on Thursday. | Stephan Rockefeller,

SALMON — The defense attorney for a woman convicted in the meth overdose death of her baby had dozens of reasons to request that her sentencing be postponed.

Heather Elam, 25, was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in Lemhi County on a voluntary manslaughter conviction. Originally Elam was charged with first-degree murder but, as part of a plea agreement, the charge was amended to one count of voluntary manslaughter.

In court Thursday, James Archibald, Elam’s attorney, took up issue with a pre-sentence report generated by the Idaho Department of Correction.

Archibald told the court that he had at least 20 objections to the report and that there were more than 40 clarifications that needed to be made in mental heath portions of the report.

Archibald told the court there were several statements in the report attributed to Elam that she denies saying.

Bruce Withers, the Lemhi County prosecutor, did not object to postponing sentencing and agreed the report should be presented as accurately as possible.

District Judge Alan Stephens said he wanted the corrections and objections in writing to add to the official record. Stephens scheduled sentencing for late next month.

In September, Elam pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge stemming from the death of her 6-month-old daughter, who died of a methamphetamine overdose last year.

Court records show investigators discovered methamphetamine in a bottle of children’s Dimetapp and within a partially full baby bottle. Autopsy reports show the presence of methamphetamine in the child’s stomach, blood and urine.

“Heather did not admit to intentional poisoning her daughter, but she took responsibility for her child’s death today,” Archibald told after her guilty plea in September. “She recognizes she was responsible for keeping her daughter away from the meth that she and several others were using that night.”

Elam faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and remains in the Lemhi County Jail.

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