- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A Warm Springs woman who killed her 17-month-old son more than a decade ago has been struggling to meet the terms of her supervised release from prison.

Lillian Blackwolf, 42, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2003 death of Kenneth Sconawah. She first told investigators her son was hurt in a fall at a community center, but she later admitted striking the boy’s head on a wood stove. A medical examiner testified at the time that the force was equivalent to a fall from a two-story building.

Court records show Blackwolf left prison on Dec. 31, 2010, and has violated the terms of her release at least three times while living in the Portland area. Most recently, she admitted using marijuana, traveling to the Warm Springs reservation without permission and failing to take drug tests and participate in drug treatment.

U.S. District Court Judge Ancer L. Haggerty could have revoked her supervised release and sentenced her to up to five years in prison. Instead, he ordered her to remain in custody until a bed opens up at a halfway house.

“There’s a recognition - even for Miss Blackwolf herself - that she needs to be in a structured and clean-and-sober environment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said.

Blackwolf’s attorney, Michelle Sweet, declined to discuss the case. Her probation officer Malinda Andersen also declined comment.

Blackwolf had a history of substance abuse and lost custody of Kenneth and three other children to tribal authorities for much of the year preceding his death.

Two of her other sons died as infants in 1992 and 2000. The first child died of asphyxiation when he was left in a hammock-like swing with a scarf tied around him. The other boy died of sudden infant death syndrome. Authorities took another look at those cases after Kenneth’s death, but no charges were filed.

Blackwolf’s inability to follow the terms of her release began shortly after leaving prison. She tested positive for cocaine in March 2011 and later that year was found to be keeping company with a felon. A probation officer found the felon hiding under Blackwolf’s bed.

In October 2012, Haggerty sentenced Blackwolf to three months in prison after she failed to report to her probation officer and skipped drug-and-mental health treatment.

At last week’s hearing, Haggerty told Blackwolf he’s retiring at the end of the year, and she will have to face another judge if she stumbles again.

“He said the other judge may not be as lenient as he’s been,” Gabriel recalled.


Follow Steven DuBois at twitter.com/pdxdub

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