Former Friedens woman sentenced in death of daughter
Marilyn Elizabeth Slope, 36, formerly of Friedens, pleaded guilty Friday in a Tennessee courtroom in connection with the death of her 12-year-old daughter, Shirley Mae Slope.
Tennessee Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins then sentenced her to 15 years in state prison for aggravated child neglect, a B felony, and dismissed a murder charge, according to a Davidson County court clerk.
Slope was arraigned July 26 in Davidson County Division V Criminal Court in Nashville, Tennessee, after being indicted by a grand jury in June 2017.
Shirley Slope, who suffered from juvenile diabetes, was flown from Wildersville, Tennessee, to Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Feb. 11, 2016, after she became unresponsive in a vehicle on Interstate 40 while traveling with her mother and others from Louisiana to Ohio, according to a media release from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. The girl died at Vanderbilt four days later.
Medical staff at Vanderbilt relayed concerns about Shirley Slope’s situation and possible abuse to the medical examiner’s office, which contacted the police department.
Police determined that mother and daughter lived in a mobile home in Ball, Louisiana, without utilities. The daughter was reportedly already ill when she left Louisiana with her mother and two acquaintances on Feb. 9, 2016.
The trip began and continued without Marilyn Slope seeking medical treatment for her daughter, according to police. The child’s condition deteriorated to the point that she became unresponsive while on the interstate in Henderson County, Tennessee.
Police said Shirley Slope died as the result of neglect, resulting in the aggravated child neglect charge. The offense applies if the child’s health is so adversely affected by an act of neglect that it results in serious bodily injury to the child.
Shirley Slope was born in Somerset in 2003. She later moved to Hillsboro, Ohio, where she was a member of the Living Waters Worship Center. She loved reading, singing and playing guitar. She also enjoyed volunteering at local nursing homes and the Hillsboro Food Pantry, according to an obituary from Miller Funeral Home and Crematory in Somerset.
Marilyn Slope was arrested at her home in Friedens on June 20, 2017, based on a Tennessee arrest warrant and was extradited to Tennessee to face charges in the death of her daughter.
She had been housed in the Davidson County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond awaiting trial set for Wednesday.
The final amount of time Slope must spend in prison will not be available for four to six weeks, a Tennessee corrections official said Wednesday. According to Tennessee Code, a person committing aggravated child neglect or endangerment must serve at least 70 percent of the sentence before becoming release eligible.
Calls to Watkins’ office and defense attorney Elaine Cuthbertson of Nashville were not returned.