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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 4:49 p.m., Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Big Island teenager sentenced in baby’s death

Associated Press

KAILUA-KONA — A Kailua-Kona teenager was sentenced today to up to four years in a secured mental health facility and 10 years probation in the stabbing death of her 3-month-old son.

Julia Aline Lewis, 17, who suffers from a bipolar disorder, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter as an adult in Third Circuit Court. She is to be placed in a South Salt Lake, Utah, facility until her 21st birthday.

At the time of her release from the Utah center, Lewis will return to Hawaii to complete the 10-year probation term.

Judge Elizabeth Strance also sentenced Lewis to one year of jail time but gave the teenager credit for the nine months she was confined to the Kahi Mohala mental health facility on Oahu and suspended the remaining three months.

Lewis, 16 when her baby was killed, originally was charged with second-degree murder in the Oct. 12 stabbing death of Sebastian Randall Kossak. The young mother, who was alone with the infant at her mother's Kailua-Kona home, apparently had argued with the child's 19-year-old father, who was on the mainland.

Police recovered a knife at the scene. At today's sentencing, Strance said she took into account Lewis' "long-standing mental health problems" and the fact that Lewis was suffering from postpartum depression and had been drinking alcohol at the time of the baby's death.

Lewis, dressed in black pants, a green shirt and gray zippered sweat shirt, declined to make a comment at the sentencing.

The judge attached more than two dozen special terms and conditions to the sentence, in order, she said, to punish as well as treat Lewis.

When she returns to Hawai'i, Lewis is required to find employment, avoid drugs and alcohol, follow recommended treatment programs and medications, and pay fines and fees totaling $1,155.

Manslaughter, a Class A felony, carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Police, who responded to a call of an accidental stabbing at a home in Kalaoa, said they found the infant nearly decapitated in a bedroom.