- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Two homeless people who roamed Portland rather than seek medical attention for their dying newborn pleaded guilty to manslaughter Tuesday and were sentenced to eight years in prison.

Jamie and Sarah Mangus did not make statements when offered the chance by Multnomah County Judge Eric Bergstrom.

Sarah Mangus, 29, gave birth to the baby named Krystal in a sleeping bag at a Portland apartment on April 12. The meth addict had five children before Krystal and all had been taken by the state Department of Human Services, so she didn’t want to draw scrutiny by going to a hospital, according to court records.

Prosecutors said Mangus consumed meth while in labor, and the drug was later found in Krystal’s blood and in the placenta found on the kitchen floor.

After birth, the parents took the baby to a Dollar Tree store, two convenience stores, a supermarket and a friend’s house, according to court records.

At the supermarket, employees noticed the baby was bluish, struggling to breath and had a lot of blood pouring from the navel.

“The parents had used a potato chip bag clip to hold the umbilical stump together until later replacing it with a hair barrette,” prosecutors wrote in a September memorandum.

A worker repeatedly offered to call an ambulance or give the family a ride to the hospital. The parents refused help and store management dissuaded a worker from overruling the couple and calling 9-1-1.

The child stopped breathing by the time the couple reached the home of a friend. Someone who lived there called for help, but Krystal was dead 12 hours after her birth. The cause of death was pneumonia and meth intoxication, the medical examiner ruled.

Prosecutor Ryan Lufkin told the court that the couple’s actions were selfish, and the charge reflects their negligence by failing to access proper medical care.

“The outcome for this child, Krystal, was almost inevitable,” he said.

The parents were initially charged with murder by abuse and manslaughter. A judge said at a September hearing said he didn’t think the prosecution could win at trial on the murder-by-abuse charge. Lufkin said that led to Tuesday’s plea agreement.

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Follow Steven DuBois at twitter.com/pdxdub

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