Medical marijuana being partially blamed in negligent child abuse death


Levi Welton.

Was marijuana a contributing factor in the death of two-year-old Coloradan Levi Welton earlier this year?
Expect this to be among the arguments made against his parents, Julia and Chris Welton. More than two months after Levi died following a fire in the family’s Sterling, Colorado home, his mother and father have been accused of negligent child abuse resulting in death, among other charges — and pot smoking appears to be central to the case against them.

Facebook pages for Julia, reportedly a medical marijuana card holder, and Chris remain online at this writing, and photos co-starring Levi are featured prominently on each. Here’s a shot with him and his dad….

…and here’s another in which he’s seen having fun with both Chris and Julia:

Such joy was replaced by mourning on January 15. At about 7:29 p.m. on that date, according to the South Platte Sentinel, Sterling firefighters responded to the Welton home, located at 125 State Street.

The Weltons’ home in Sterling, as seen in a 7News screen capture.

Shortly thereafter, personnel found Levi in a closet, not far from where the fire broke out. He was rushed to a local hospital, but didn’t respond to treatment.

A Facebook self-portrait of Chris Welton.

Chris was hurt in the incident, suffering burns on his hands, presumably while trying to rescue Levi and his five-year-old brother, Dean. But despite these efforts, he and Julia were soon targeted with accusations of neglect reported by 7News.
In a report on view below, the station referred to paperwork suggesting that both Levi and Dean had tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, during the weeks and months prior to the fire, which is said to have started in a pile of clothing and blankets underneath the window in the bedroom where Levi was found.

Michael Roberts at the Denver Westword has the rest.