DA: Woman drowned son in Green Tree hotel for revenge
Sharon Flanagan walked into a Green Tree hotel and placed her 2-year-old son Steven — sucking on a lollipop and wearing a red plastic firefighter's helmet — on the counter as she got her room key.
A little more than two hours later, Flanagan was running up and down the hotel hallway in a panic. Steven was face down in the bathtub inside her room.
“She was screaming ‘my baby, my baby,'” Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrini said Tuesday at Flanagan's homicide trial before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning. “But she never tells anyone her baby is in the bathroom.”
Pellegrini said Flanagan, 34, of Inwood, W.Va., drowned her son on July 1, 2012, for revenge on her husband. Flanagan was divorcing her husband, Pellegrini said. She said Flanagan performed an online search of “leading cause of toddler death” and “why is Casey Anthony so popular?” on her computer weeks before her son's death.
Anthony, 27, of Orlando, Fla., was found not guilty in July 2011 of having killed her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, whose remains were found in a trash bag near the family's home.
“There is a distinction between someone drowning someone and someone accidentally drowning,” said Flanagan's attorney, Blaine Jones III. “Unfortunately, Sharon's attention was distracted. Before she could do anything, Baby Steven was unresponsive.”
Flanagan, whose hair was tied in a braid, wore a long black skirt and a white turtleneck under a teal cardigan to court. She sobbed and wiped tears from her face throughout the testimony. She rejected an offer from the District Attorney's Office to plead guilty to third-degree murder and serve 20 to 40 years in prison.
Jones said Flanagan loaded her car on July 1 and was planning to take her son to Sandcastle Waterpark. Running late, they checked into the Best Western hotel along the Parkway West about 6:17 p.m.
Flanagan began screaming and running around, frantic, at about 8:30 p.m.
A security guard checked the hotel pool but couldn't find the boy. They raced upstairs but Flanagan didn't have her room key. The guard got another key, opened the door and discovered the child in the tub.
“He was lifeless and unresponsive,” Pellegrini said. The boy died at Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville.
Jones said Flanagan's running up and down the hotel hallway “was no act.”
“(Steven) was her life. He was everything to her,” Jones said.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412- 391-0927 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police stop car in Beltzhoover, find body in back seat
- Medical examiner identifies man in Pleasant Hills police standoff as Justin Hay
- Federal grand jury indicts man for violating poultry law while operating illegal slaughterhouse in his Jefferson Hills home
- Pa. police departments worry order on criminal seizures hurts bottom line
- New Turnpike Chairman Sean Logan institutes Wolf’s gift ban at commission
- Woman, 77, dies in Monroeville house fire
- Pa. Turnpike claims software fraud, wants $45M
- FTC chief Brill calls on companies to protect privacy online
- Pipelines key to growth in shale industry
- Veterans Affairs settles another Pittsburgh-area Legionnaire’s lawsuit
- Fitzgerald nominates mining industry businessman for Finance and Development Commission