Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Jessica Lee Grass, age 31 of South St. Paul, has been charged* with two counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree involving the death of her infant daughter on June 17, 2015 in South St. Paul.
A summary of the information contained in the criminal complaint filed late Monday is set forth below.
On June 17, 2015, South St. Paul police were called to the residence of Jessica Grass where they found a deceased five month old baby, Vaida Rose Grass, lying on top of a bed near a pillow. Jessica Grass initially told police she had placed the child on the bed, laid down with the infant for approximately 20 minutes before leaving the child in the bed. She later changed her story and told police that she had in fact fallen asleep next to her infant daughter and that she may have rolled onto the infant or her arm could have been on top of the baby. Grass also admitted to using methamphetamine and Xanax the prior day, along with alcohol. A forensic analysis of her blood sample taken from her confirmed that these controlled substances were still in her system at the time of the infant’s death.
An autopsy of the infant identified the cause of her death as positional asphyxia.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint, which is located online at: Criminal Complaint Search
. A mug shot can be viewed online at: Inmate Search
Backstrom commented: “This appears to be another tragic example of the extreme danger of co-sleeping with an infant, the danger of which is even more extreme when the co-sleeping adult is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
Grass made her first court appearance in connection with these charges today and bail was set in the amount of $75,000 without conditions ($25,000 with conditions) by Dakota County District Court Judge Erica H. MacDonald. Her next court appearance was set for May 10, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Hastings.
If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.
*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant/suspect is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.