UPDATE: Woman found guilty after rolling over and killing her baby

UPDATE:  BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Ariel Bennett has been found guilty on three counts resulting in the death of her child.

The jury found that Bennett is guilty of gross child neglect resulting in death, child neglect resulting in the risk of injury, and child neglect creating the risk of injury.

She will be sentenced on April 16th.


BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Thursday was day four of the Ariel Bennett trial. Bennett, the Raleigh County woman who is accused of rolling over and suffocating her baby while intoxicated, is facing a charge of gross child neglect that resulted in death. 

Four days of arguments, evidence and witnesses and at about 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, both sides rested.

At the beginning, Bennett’s defense team announced Bennett would not be testifying. 

Evidence concluded with Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller showing three thirty-minute videos of Ariel Bennett’s husband, Andrew, talking with Beckley Police Detective Morgan Bragg.

The first interview was shortly after the death of their infant. The next was two days later, and the third on November 20, 2015 when the charges were filed against both of them. 

Andrew plead guilty to his gross child neglect charges and will serve 1-5 years in prison. Ariel turned down two plea deals.  

Andrew allegedly purchased alcohol for Ariel which she consumed and was left alone intoxicated with three children.

She then allegedly passed out and rolled over her baby and was accused of suffocating the child to death back in November of 2015. 

In the video, Andrew said he did not realize Ariel was that intoxicated before he left. He said he returned home to ambulances and at hospital, he could tell she had been drinking. 

Detective Bragg also pointed out the state of the house saying there were moldy foods, open bottles and empty cans. He tells Andrew in the video interview it was one of the worst he had ever seen. 

Closing arguments took up the afternoon and evening. The jury will reconvene on Friday to deliberate.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.