Mom pleads guilty to accidentally suffocating infant while drunk

2014-07-10T15:46:00Z 2014-07-11T15:26:18Z Mom pleads guilty to accidentally suffocating infant while drunkBy EDDIE GREGG The Billings Gazette

A Bozeman woman who prosecutors said was drunk when she fell asleep on her infant son and suffocated him at a Billings hotel in 2012 pleaded guilty Thursday to negligent homicide.

Tiffany Michele Hossner, 35, entered the plea before District Judge Mary Jane McCalla Knisely.

“I consumed wine and fell asleep breastfeeding and suffocated my son, Cody,” Hossner said in court, breaking down.

The date for the sentencing has not yet been set.

Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Juli Pierce said the state will recommend a 20-year Department of Corrections sentence with 15 years suspended.

Hossner’s attorney, Herman “Chuck” Watson, could argue for a fully suspended sentence.

Hossner remains free from jail on bond, on the condition that she comply with 24/7 sobriety monitoring.

According to court documents:

Officers were called to the Holiday Inn on Midland Road at about 6 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2012.

Officers met with the child’s parents, Tiffany Hossner and Josh Hossner, who were not married at the time, but married about a week later, according to court records.

Medical personnel declared the baby dead at the hotel. Tiffany Hossner, who was hysterical, was taken to a Billings hospital, where she later made a statement to investigators.

Charging documents say a blood sample taken at the hospital that night showed she had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.296 percent, more than three times the legal driving limit.

Tiffany Hossner, along with the couple’s 6-year-old daughter and their infant son, had come to Billings from their home in Bozeman to pick up Josh Hossner, who was being released from the Yellowstone County jail, records state. He had served about two weeks for traffic violations.

At the hotel, Josh Hossner said he took his 6-year-old to the pool at about 3:30 p.m., while Tiffany Hossner remained in the room to nurse the baby.

Josh said he returned to the room at about 5 p.m. and found Tiffany Hossner asleep on top of the baby. He said he tried to revive the child but was unsuccessful.

He said he then stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and get his daughter some food, before he called 911, court records state.

Prosecutors said the emergency call was placed at 6:06 p.m.

Asked by police why he didn’t call 911 right away, Josh Hossner said he wasn’t sure what to do and was trying to calm down Tiffany, who he said was hysterical.

At Billings Clinic, Tiffany remained hysterical, and denied taking any prescription medications or drinking alcohol, according to records.

Josh Hossner admitted the couple had drunk some wine and he had bought some whiskey, but he did not think his wife was drunk when he left her in the room to go to the pool.

Prosecutors said phone records showed the 911 call made by Josh “most likely did not come from the Holiday Inn” as he told an officer.

Investigators also determined that Tiffany has a record of alcohol-related incidents, including several investigations by child protective services and police in Bozeman.

In August 2012, court records say Tiffany Hossner was charged with misdemeanor counts of DUI and endangering the welfare of a child after an officer stopped her vehicle. Tiffany Hossner was pregnant and her teenage son was in the vehicle.

A jury later convicted Tiffany Hossner of the endangerment charge, but the DUI charge was dismissed after the panel said they could not reach a verdict.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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