By Jayson Jacoby
The parents of a 2-year-old Baker City boy who died Nov. 4 after shooting himself with a handgun in the family’s home were arrested Saturday on multiple charges, including second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
Liam Paul Lee Mankins died from the gunshot wound to his head.
His parents, Peter Lee Mankins, 33, of 1905 Birch St., and Diana Lynn Goodman, 32, whose address was listed as 804 Auburn Ave., were both arrested about 3:10 p.m. Saturday. Mankins was arrested at Ruckles Creek east of Baker City, and Goodman in the 2300 block of Failing Ave.
They are in the Baker County Jail, each charged with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, endangering the welfare of a minor (two counts) and recklessly endangering another person.
Bail was set at $190,000 for both Mankins and Goodman. They were slated to be arraigned today in Baker County Circuit Court, Baker County District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff said.
Second-degree manslaughter is a Measure 11 crime in Oregon, and a person convicted of the charge faces a mandatory minimum prison term of 6 years, 3 months.
Shirtcliff said the two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor stem from the presence of a second child in the home at 1905 Place St. — a 4-month-old sibling of Liam’s — while drug activity was happening in their presence, Shirtcliff said in a press release.
Both parents were in the home when the toddler shot himself with a gun that was loaded and had not been secured, Shirtcliff said. The shooting happened at about 11 a.m. on Nov. 4.
Police found meth in the Birch Street home, Shirtcliff said.
The charge of recklessly endangering another person stems from meth being accessible to Liam Mankins in the home, the district attorney said.
Shirtcliff said a Baker County grand jury considered evidence on Thursday, Dec. 27, and issued indictments against Peter Mankins and Goodman the same day.
Shirtcliff said he convened the grand jury only after he had received a variety of evidence, some of which was processed at an Oregon State Police crime lab in Portland, and some at the OSP lab in Pendleton.
Evidence included toxicological test results from Liam Mankins as well as from both of his parents, Shirtcliff said.
Results from the autopsy of Liam Mankins came from the Ada County, Idaho, Coroner’s Office. That office conducted the autopsy and determined the cause of death because Liam died at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise on Nov. 4.
Shirtcliff said that although the use of meth or other drugs is not required in charging people with criminally negligent homicide, impairment from drug use can be a factor.
The main issue in this case, he said, is that the toddler had access to a loaded gun.