Homicide by child abuse or neglect statute

SECTION 16-3-85. Homicide by child abuse; definitions; penalty; sentencing.

(A) A person is guilty of homicide by child abuse if the person:

(1) causes the death of a child under the age of eleven while committing child abuse or neglect, and the death occurs under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life; or

(2) knowingly aids and abets another person to commit child abuse or neglect, and the child abuse or neglect results in the death of a child under the age of eleven.

(B) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) "child abuse or neglect" means an act or omission by any person which causes harm to the child's physical health or welfare;

(2) "harm" to a child's health or welfare occurs when a person:

(a) inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical injury, including injuries sustained as a result of excessive corporal punishment;

(b) fails to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care, and the failure to do so causes a physical injury or condition resulting in death; or

(c) abandons the child resulting in the child's death.

(C) Homicide by child abuse is a felony and a person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to homicide by child abuse:

(1) under subsection (A)(1) may be imprisoned for life but not less than a term of twenty years; or

(2) under subsection (A)(2) must be imprisoned for a term not exceeding twenty years nor less than ten years.

(D) In sentencing a person under this section, the judge must consider any aggravating circumstances including, but not limited to, a defendant's past pattern of child abuse or neglect of a child under the age of eleven, and any mitigating circumstances; however, a child's crying does not constitute provocation so as to be considered a mitigating circumstance.