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A Bangor mother who allegedly used her own Narcan on Mother’s Day to revive her 2½ -year-old after the girl got into drugs in the home has been charged with domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.
Jessica Shepard, 28, was arrested Wednesday by Bangor police and taken to the Penobscot County Jail. She made her first court appearance remotely Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center before District Court Judge Joshua Randlett.
Shepard was not asked to enter pleas because she has not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury.
The child has recovered and is in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s office.
R. Christopher Almy, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, said Friday that prosecution of Shepard could test Maine’s good Samaritan law that provides immunity from arrest or prosecution to people who call 911 to report an overdose or those who provide medical assistance.
The law prevents those who call for help or try to revive a person who is overdosing from being charged with possession of drugs, acquiring drugs by deception, possession of and use of drug paraphernalia and violation of probation.
That law recently was updated to include others who are at the overdose event and who assist the person experiencing an overdose. That update won’t go into effect until later this year.
Maine is one of 47 states and the District of Columbia that has passed Good Samaritan laws.
That law was not mentioned at Shephard’s first appearance but Randlett said he was uncertain that a jury would find the drug fentanyl is a dangerous weapon under Maine law. He rejected Assistant District Attorney Katherine Davis’ request that bail be set at $10,000 cash and set it at $500 cash, which Shepard said she could post.
“Leaving drugs out so a child could get into them is not an example of good parenting, but I am concerned that it doesn’t fall under reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon,” the judge said.
Bail conditions include no use of possession of illegal drugs and testing for that use. Shepard also may only have contact with her daughter unless DHHS authorizes it.
If convicted, Shepard faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the reckless conduct charge and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 on the endangering charge.
A similar case from last year in which a then 11-month-old girl nearly died of a drug overdose after getting into drugs in the home is pending in Penobscot County
Zachary Borg, 27, and Taezja DiPietro, 23, both of Corinna, have pleaded not guilty to one count each of aggravated furnishing of drugs to a minor, a Class B crime; domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, a Class C crime; endangering the welfare of a child and drug possession, both Class D crimes.
Investigators allegedly found fentanyl in several rooms of the parents’ home, including their daughter’s bedroom, where fentanyl was found on her teddy bear and in her playpen.
That case is expected to go to trial this summer in Bangor.
Borg remains at the Penobscot County Jail unable to post a $10,000 cash bail. DiPietro, whose bail was set at $5,000 cash last year, has been released.
Correction: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized recently passed changes to the state’s good Samaritan law. An earlier version also misstated the potential penalty Shepard faces.