Mother and friend who injected her with drugs while she was in labor will not face felony charges
CONCORD — A mother and her friend who injected her with heroin while she was in labor in November 2016 will not be facing felony charges after a probable cause hearing Tuesday.
Rhianna Frenette, 37, was facing one felony reckless conduct charge for placing baby L.F. in danger during his birth and a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge for injecting Felicia Farruggia, the mother, with heroin while she was in labor.
Concord Police Detective Nicole Murray said the baby was born in the amniotic sac, lethargic and was transported to the hospital where it tested positive for methamphetamines, amphetamines and benzodiazepines. L.F.'s condition was later reported as stable.
Emma Sisti, Frenette's public defender, successfully argued that the felony charge be dropped because there was no traces of heroin found in Farruggia's or L.F.'s bloodstream and that the needle couldn't be considered a deadly weapon. Frenette now faces one count of reckless conduct, a Class A misdemeanor, but Sisti argued that it should be reduced to a Class B misdemeanor because it was not mentioned at her previous hearing.
Farruggia's felony reckless conduct charge was also dropped to a misdemeanor. Farruggia's public defender requested that her bail be amended to personal recognizance bail if she is allowed to enter a treatment program at least 28 days in length.
Murray said they have been investigating the incident since November 15, 2016 when they were called to 4 Elmwood Ave. by Farruggia's boyfriend, Chris Wathen.
Murray said Wathen told dispatchers that Farruggia was screaming in pain in the bathroom, and that she allowed Frenette into the bathroom with her. Murray said Frenette claimed Farruggia was attempting to inject herself with a needle and dirty cotton.
Murray said the 911 call lasted about 10 minutes, and by the end of the call the ambulance had arrived on the scene. Murray said a paramedic described the conditions of the home as "not that which they would want to work in."
Before the arrival of emergency responders, Frenette injected Farruggia with what they thought was heroin, at the demand of Farruggia, according to Frenette. Farruggia denies ever asking to be injected with heroin, but Frenette said Farruggia refused to let anyone call for medical assistance until she was injected with heroin.
Murray said when Farruggia was carried out of the house that the baby was already crowning.
Farruggia delivered the baby in the driveway as she was being loaded into the ambulance and emergency responders administered NARCAN, although they didn't believe she was overdosing.