Ashley Malloy was living at the apartment house at 26 Oak St. in Oakland, at left in November 2021, when her 14-month-old son, Karson, died after being exposed to opioids. Malloy, now 23, was sentenced Monday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta to serve four years in prison in connection with the toddler’s death. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

AUGUSTA — An Oakland woman was sentenced Monday to four years in prison in connection with the death of her 14-month-old son.

Ashley Malloy, 23, pleaded guilty in August to manslaughter and drug trafficking charges after her son, Karson, died of an overdose in 2021 from a combination of fentanyl and tramadol at her apartment.

Officials said Karson had enough fentanyl in his system to kill four adults, and there were drugs throughout the apartment where he lived with his mother, including in a blanket on a bed were Malloy had put her son down for a nap Nov. 2, 2021, and later found him unresponsive.

“We’re here today because the defendant, Ashley Malloy, failed her son,” prosecutor Lisa Bogue, an assistant attorney general, said. “Karson didn’t have a chance. There was no safe place for Karson. He wasn’t safe in his own pajamas. Those pajamas were covered in fentanyl. And not even safe in his own skin.”

Superior Court Justice Julia Lipez sentenced Malloy to 10 years in prison, with all but four years suspended, and six years of probation. The sentencing followed emotional testimony, including from Malloy, at a sentencing hearing Monday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

The sentence means Malloy will spend four years in prison if she complies with the conditions of her probation, or up to the full 10-year sentence if she does not comply with the terms of her probation. Prosecutors had sought a 15-year sentence.


“My heart will forever be broken from this devastating loss,” Malloy said, her voice cracking. “There is nothing worse a mother could do than not protect their child. Karson, I am so sorry I didn’t protect you the way I should have as a mother. I would do anything to bring you back and hear your voice one more time.”

Malloy’s lawyer, John Pelletier, said Malloy allowed people to whom she was introduced through a friend from high school to use her apartment to deal drugs. Pelletier said Malloy allowed them to do so because of threats to her involving a family member who had accumulated a drug debt.

Malloy was not an active participant in the drug trade, Pelletier said, and had been kicked out of her apartment the day before Karson’s death by those involved in dealing drugs. She returned the next day.

Pelletier said it was those people, not Malloy, who had left the fentanyl, tramadol and a cutting agent where Karson Malloy could come into contact with them after Malloy and her son returned to their apartment.

Two men have been charged in connection with alleged drug trafficking tied to the case, a spokesperson for the Office of the Maine Attorney General said. Their cases are pending.

Domingos Carbral, 34, of Skowhegan was indicted on two counts of aggravated trafficking in schedule W drugs, and Joshua Cyr, 33, of Turner on one count of aggravated trafficking in schedule W drugs.


Bogue said no one other than Malloy has been charged in the death of Karson Malloy.

Lipez said fentanyl — a highly addictive, deadly synthetic opioid — is wreaking havoc across Maine. She said the case was also a tragedy for Malloy’s other child, who is in foster care through the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Lipez said Malloy acted with criminal negligence, but not recklessly, in the death of her son, which factored into the sentencing.

The judge also said mitigating factors, including Malloy’s young age and lack of a criminal record, outweighed the aggravating factors in the case. Lipez said Malloy had a traumatic childhood and was emancipated when she was 16 years old.

Pelletier argued that Malloy had taken responsibility for her son’s death.

Bogue said Malloy only took responsibility after being confronted by police with test results that showed Karson had died of a drug overdose. Bogue said Malloy did not mention the possibility that Karson had come into contact with drugs to emergency medical technicians at the scene or, later, at the hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead.


After Karson was brought to the hospital and Malloy let officials into her apartment to investigate, Bogue said police saw Malloy hurriedly remove blankets from the bed where Malloy had put the boy down to sleep, and later claimed they had been moved prior to his going to sleep there.

“This conduct was at the very top of recklessness, as close as you can get to murder or a depraved indifference case,” Bogue argued in court. “We have a lot of Ashley’s words, but it’s important they be compared to what her actions were. She starts, from the very beginning, she says, ‘I don’t know what happened to my child.’ She knew there were drugs in the bedroom. The evidence suggests she’s always looking out for herself.”

Julie Burnham-Leavitt, Karson’s paternal grandmother, said there were moments she feared for Karson’s safety before the overdose that took his life. She said the family’s days are now shrouded in darkness. She also said the family seeks justice for Karson and to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

“We’re haunted by the thoughts of the suffering he may have endured, and the experiences he will never have,” Burnham-Leavitt said, through tears.

Comments are not available on this story.