Lawyer: Couple charged in baby's drug death suffering
Taylor — The Taylor couple arraigned Thursday in the drug overdose death of their infant great-grandson are suffering and shouldn't have been charged so harshly for what was an accident, a defense attorney said.
Rebecca May, 52, and her husband, Quentin Roosevelt May, 65, are "wonderful people ... salt of the earth," said Shawn Patrick Smith, who represents Rebecca May and stood in as counsel for her husband during the brief hearing in 23rd District Court.
The couple are charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse in the Oct. 5 death of 10-month-old Du'Wan Lanhan.
The child's death was caused by Cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxer, and methadone toxicity, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, which ruled the death a homicide. Both drugs had been prescribed to the boy's great-grandparents, according to authorities.
But Smith said the infant's death was a tragic accident, not the result of any crimes committed by the Mays.
"They're not rich people. They're just living day by day and they've struggling with loss of their great-grandchildren. Now they gotta face criminal charges for it," he said. "I'm confident that it's going to be dismissed in the end. I don't see any criminal act in this. Hopefully I can get them out on bond and they don't have to suffer. Their health is in really bad shape."
Quentin May, who entered the courtroom with the assistance of a walker, has "serious health problems" and has had four heart attacks, Smith said.
The police officer in charge of the investigation asked for a $1 million bond each for the couple. Saying "I am concerned," Judge Geno D. Salomone set bond at $250,000 cash for Quentin May, who Smith said has a felony record. Rebecca May received a $50,000 cash bond.
The judge ordered Quentin May not to have contact with anyone under the age of 18 outside the home without supervision and that no minors be allowed at the couple's home. The judge also ordered no consumption of alcohol or drugs and that the husband must wear a GPS tether if released.
The officer-in-charge had recommended $1 million cash bond for both suspects. The couple were locked up immediately following the brief arraignment.
The judge told Smith, who agreed, that he probably could not represent both husband and wife because it could be a conflict of interest.
Following the arraignment, Smith told reporters that a conflict could result if one member of the couple testifies against the other.
Smith said the case was "way overcharged" and expressed shock at the bond amounts. He said he planned to have Rebecca May released on bond Thursday afternoon.
The lawyer said Smith has not been in trouble with the law since 2000 and that the 65-year-old great-grandfather obtained a college degree after he "cleaned up his act."
Taylor's police and fire departments were called to the couple's home around 3:24 p.m. Oct. 5 in the 5800 block of Wilkie Street for assistance with a baby not breathing, according to the prosecutor's office.
When police officers and firefighters arrived, they discovered the infant boy on the floor. CPR was administered and the child was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Mays allegedly "failed to store and/or maintain their medications in a safe manner," according to the prosecutor's office, and that the couple also failed to "provide a safe environment" for their great-grandson.
The couple are due back in court for a probable cause conference at 1 p.m. June 11. Their preliminary examination was scheduled for 1 p.m. June 18.