Mother gets 22-year sentence for death of 3-year-old son | CraigDailyPress.com

Mother gets 22-year sentence for death of 3-year-old son

Matt Stensland

— During an emotional hearing Wednesday, a Steamboat Springs mother was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the death of her 3-year-old son.

Meghan McKeon, 25, was accused of leaving her son, Austin Davis, alone for three days before he died March 27. While Austin was home alone, police believed McKeon was working and staying at her boyfriend’s house. An autopsy showed that Austin died from dehydration in a cabin, which had no running water.

District Judge Shelley Hill called it one of the most outrageous and egregious acts that a parent could commit.

“The result that happened was inevitable, and you knew it was when you were doing it,” Hill said.

McKeon was charged with two counts of felony child abuse resulting in death. As part of a plea deal, she agreed to the proposed 22-year sentence and pleaded guilty to one of the charges Wednesday. She will get credit for the 223 days she has been incarcerated.

McKeon chose to speak during her sentencing hearing. She did not go into details about what happened during the days leading up to Austin's death but said she had been battling demons.

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“Instead of spending time with my son, I was spending time with a bottle chasing dreams I knew were unattainable,” she said.

McKeon said she was not a monster.

“I would never have done anything to intentionally hurt my child,” she said.

McKeon said Austin’s death would not be in vain, and she wanted to start an organization that would help women.

“I know nothing I say or do will bring my little boy back, but I have hope for a brighter future,” McKeon said.

Austin’s father, Tyler Davis, who was in Routt County Jail when Austin died, spoke over a video feed from the jail, where he is serving an 18-month sentence for harassment. Tyler Davis said he hoped McKeon was not scarred for life.

“Good luck with everything,” he said.

Charity O’Konski, the mother of Tyler Davis and Austin’s grandmother, said McKeon made a “deadly mistake” and “this cannot be forgotten.”

“I’m still trying to understand why you did this,” O’Konski said. “I loved you like a daughter. I’ve always been there for you.”

O’Konski said McKeon took an innocent boy’s life away by putting herself first.

“There is no justice because we can’t have Austin back,” O’Konski said.

Ultimately, O’Konski said that she forgave McKeon.

"I have to forgive you," O’Konski said.

Steamboat Police Chief Joel Rae said in a press release that the police department was supportive of the plea agreement.

"Our hearts continue to go out to all who knew and cared about Austin," Rae said.

District Attorney Brett Barkey also made a statement in the press release.

"Ms. McKeon's 22-year prison term is a just consequence for the pattern of neglect that resulted in Austin's tragic and unnecessary death,” Barkey said. “Of course, we recognize that there is no legal process that can bring Austin back. We extend our deepest condolences to Austin's family."

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland