Youngstown mom avoids jail time in cocaine death of 9-year-old son

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A mother avoided jail time in the cocaine-related death of her 9-year-old son.

Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas Judge Scott Krichbaum sentenced Raenell Allen to five months of probation on Tuesday. Allen took a plea deal in the case.

Her son, Marcus Lee, died the day after Christmas from what doctors called “acute cocaine toxicity.” Police say the boy ingested an amount equal to more than two dozen doses of the drug.

Allen and her boyfriend at the time, Kevin Gamble, were arrested in May after an investigation into the boy’s death.

Gamble was sentenced to four and a half years in prison last month after he also took a plea deal. Allen had been set to testify against him in the trial.

Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa said it was a difficult case because there were no witnesses and no way of knowing how the little boy found the cocaine.

“We have two people out there that have taken responsibility for this child’s death, and in the end, she’s on community control to one of the toughest judges in the county, so if she does anything, he’ll make sure… he told her, ‘If you violate, I will send you to prison for the maximum amount of time,'” she said.

The charges against Allen could have brought a three-year sentence.

Both Allen and Gamble pleaded guilty to child endangering, while Gamble also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.