Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Jessica Lee Grass, age 32 of South St. Paul, was sentenced today to 90 days in jail and 10 years of probation by District Court Judge Cynthia McCollum involving the death of her infant daughter on June 17, 2015 in South St. Paul. Grass was charged with two counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree on April 27th.
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. A mug shot can be viewed online at: Inmate Search
Backstrom commented: “Co-sleeping with an infant is extremely dangerous and that danger is significantly increased if alcohol and/or drug use is involved.”
Backstrom thanked Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Swank who prosecuted the case. Backstrom also thanked the South St. Paul Police Department for their thorough investigation of this matter.