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Drunk woman whose son drowned gets a year in jail

October 8, 2009 |  3:16 pm

Paigelooney An Anaheim woman today was sentenced to a year in jail for the death of her 13-month-old son, who drowned in the family pool while she was drunk, authorities said.

Paige Elizabeth Looney, 36, initially was charged with murder but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office. She also pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment with a sentencing enhancement because the neglect resulted in death.

Looney’s son Eric drowned Feb. 21, 2008, in the family's unfenced backyard pool. Prosecutors said Looney had spent the day drinking while she was supposed to be caring for Eric and his 4-year-old brother, and she did not immediately notice that Eric was in the pool.

Her 12-year-old daughter called 911 when she arrived home from school. When police arrived, Paige Looney had pulled Eric from the water and was attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, authorities said. Paramedics were unable to revive Eric, who was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Toxicology tests confirmed that Looney was intoxicated, prosecutors said.

Eric was the youngest of four children born to Looney by two men who are brothers. Steve Looney is the father of her two sons and another boy who died in 2005 at age 2. The girl's father is Mark Looney. Steve Looney, who lived at the residence part time, was not home when the drowning occurred, police said.

Paige Looney will not receive credit for the year and a half she already has spent in custody, prosecutors said. She also was ordered to complete a two-year residential drug treatment program.

—Alexandra Zavis

Photo: Paige Elizabeth Looney in a police booking photo.

Credit: Anaheim Police Department