Young Mother Gets 40 Years For Death of Newborn

February 28 2008, 7:34 PM

Erin Pendleton is 32 years old. She's spent the last 3 1/2 years in jail -- since her arrest for giving birth at Legends' sports bar in Cherry Creek and leaving the newborn boy in a trash can in the restroom. Police say he likely was born alive but suffocated when she put him in a plastic bag she then placed in the trash. She had been drinking and using cocaine that night, and her friends say she never told them she was pregnant. Pendleton was charged with murder. She pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of felony child abuse resulting in death. Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield sentenced her today to 40 years in prison. In another high-profile death case, Eric Snell, the passenger in the hit and run that killed Rebecca Bingham and two children crossing the 16th St. Mall, may lose his probation. The District Attorney moved to revoke his probation because since then,

Snell was arrested in December on charges of burglary, trespassing, driving with a revoked license, harassment and failing to comply with a protection order.

Snell got two years probation in the hit and run for admitting he helped the driver hide the vehicle after the accident. He also pleaded guilty to drunk driving just hours after the Bingham deaths. He got the sweetheart deal after agreeing to testify against the driver. But he never had to testify since the driver pleaded guilty and got 48 years without Snell's assistance. Snell is looking at 6 years in prison for his role in the Bingham deaths if probation is revoked. Yesterday in Grand Junction, Daniel Vigil was sentenced to 24 years in prison for stealing a bronze pig from Main Street. Vigil apparently was homeless, and the pig had a built-in piggy bank. The pig was found in the truck he was living in. Today a report was released finding that 1 of every 100 Americans is now in jail or prison. Does Erin Pendleton really need 40 years in prison? Does Daniel Vigil need 24? Is 6 years enough for Eric Snell? Our sentencing laws are skewed and draconian. It's time for a fix.

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