Austell mother sentenced to 20 years in death of infant son

photo of Cobb Superior Court building from the front with a blue sky with clouds in the background

An Austell mother was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, cruelty to children in the second degree, three counts of heroin possession, and reckless conduct.

The cruelty charge was added because the child was born drug-addicted in 2017 due to the heroin use of the mother.

Zion Troup (photo provided by the Cobb County District Attorney’s office)

According to a press release from the office of Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes, the mother, Lalonie Vanessa Troup, 33, was sentenced on Wednesday by Cobb Superior Court Judge A. Gregory Poole.

Troup was sentenced to 10 years to be served in prison, with the remainder on probation.

The press release from the DA’s office describes the events leading up to the death of the infant, Zion Kingston Troup, as follows:

Troup’s mother was awarded custody of the infant in November 2017 after Troup was discovered unconscious behind the wheel of a car at The Battery with Zion unrestrained in the backseat. Troup was arrested at that time for possession of heroin, and Zion was taken into protective custody by detectives with the Cobb Police Crimes Against Children Unit.

Troup continued to test positive for opiates while being monitored by the Department of Family and Children Services. Despite being ordered to have no unsupervised contact with the child, on Dec. 1, 2017, Troup – who was staying at her mother’s residence on Sandtown Green in Marietta – took the baby from his bed in her mother’s room and put him in bed with her, placing him face down surrounded by blankets and pillows, resulting in his asphyxiation and death. Infants should always be placed on their backs when sleeping, without items that could obstruct their airway, and Troup had received such parenting instructions from DFCS.

“Zion had many people advocating for him from the time of his birth until the time of his death. Safeguards and orders were put in place to keep him safe, but Ms. Troup ignored them,” said Assistant District Attorney Katie Gropper. “This case is every child advocate’s worst nightmare and a heartbreaking example of the trail of destruction a heroin addict can cause.”

The DA’s office included the following information in the press release:

Help is available for those dealing with drug addiction. The Zone is one organization that can help people find treatment. The Zone is located at 32 Fairground St NE in Marietta, and the telephone is (770) 693-5982.