Karen Lorraine Inskip realized minutes after putting out medicine for a teenager in her care that there’d been a mix-up.
But the 50-year-old Gig Harbor woman didn’t think it would be fatal, her attorney said at her sentencing Friday in the death of 15-year-old Dylan Creighton.
“This case is a horrible tragedy,” lawyer Casey Arbenz said.
Loved ones told the court that Inskip had gone above and beyond to be a parent to her ex-husband’s two young children, after their mother died about six years ago.
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By accounts of their teachers and other parents at the boys’ schools, she’d been very involved in their classes and extra-curricular activities.
But, on June 23, 2016, as Inskip put out what she thought was ADHD medicine for Dylan she realized within minutes that there’d been a mistake.
Inskip thought he’d accidentally taken some oxycodone, one of her prescribed drugs, and after reading online about the side effects, believed he’d be OK, Arbenz told Pierce County Superior Court Judge Karena Kirkendoll.
It was 12 hours later that Inskip got the boy medical help, according to prosecutors.
He’d actually mistakenly taken her slow-release morphine tablets, and died days later.
Inskip pleaded guilty in August to second-degree manslaughter for the fatal poisoning.
As part of negotiations, Deputy Prosecutor John Sheeran and defense attorney Casey Arbenz recommended Inskip serve a year and three months in prison.
“There’s no reason for this court to believe that this was anything but a horrific accident,” the judge said. “... Her remorse is obvious.”
Sheeran argued that Inskip should not have contact with the other child she’d cared for, Dylan’s 10-year-old brother. And some family members agreed.
But Kirkendoll said that while Inskip is incarcerated she and the boy can write each other with a counselor’s supervision. When Inskip is released, the judge said, they can see each other in a therapeutic setting, as long as the boy agrees.
The 10-year-old wrote the court that he’s sad he hasn’t been allowed to see Inskip after his brother’s death, and that he wants to see if she is OK.
“It is not fair,” he wrote. “I already lost my real mom. Now I lose my second mom. Please let me see her again.”
Rex Creighton, the boys’ father, thanked Inskip for how she’d helped the family. He told the judge Inskip had “jumped wholeheartedly” into being a parent, even though they weren’t married.
He and others said Inskip had helped Dylan get on track with his education.
When Creighton came home after the medication mistake, he told the judge, “We talked our ourselves into: ‘Somehow it was alright.’ ”
He had no idea the severity of the situation, he said.
They didn’t want Dylan medicated at all, he said, and they tried to wean him off, but school wasn’t possible for him without it.
Anthony Creighton, Dylan’s adult brother, told Kirkendoll he could accept that Inskip made a mistake, but not the decision to wait to get medical care.
“To me, that shows the inability to care for any child,” he said.
When it was Inskip’s turn to speak, she tearfully apologized.
One day, she said, she hopes the family members who haven’t can forgive her.