GAINES TWP. (WWJ/AP) – A West Michigan man whose 1-year-old grandson died after drinking a cup of juice containing crushed morphine and allergy pills has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, authorities said.
Gregg Busby, 59, was arraigned by video Thursday in Kent County District Court as a fourth-time habitual offender for the Feb. 10 death of Antonio Garcia-Lazarski, The Grand Rapids Press reported.
According to court records, Busby indicated he gave the child the mixture to calm him and make him feel better. The boy died the next day.
“Any of us standing here would have to really, consciously think what the purpose was,” said Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess. “It’s hard for any of us to understand.”
Busby and another grandparent were caring for the child at a mobile home in Gaines Township at the time, authorities said. Emergency crews called to the home found the child dead, but during the initial investigation authorities said they weren’t told the child had ingested morphine or the allergy medicine, Benadryl.
Busby was in custody Friday at a Jackson-area prison facility, according to Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections. Busby had been on parole since last year after serving time in a forgery and counterfeiting case, and initially was held this month on a parole violation.
According to authorities, Busby told them about the drugs after a medical examiner on March 6 reported the results of toxicology tests following the child’s death. The child had a hereditary disease that affected his lungs and bones, but morphine wasn’t one of the medications he was prescribed.
The morphine pills belonged to the child’s grandmother, who isn’t charged, authorities said.
Busby’s criminal history dates back to 1969 and includes conviction for check fraud and forgery. In 1992 he was caught trying to escape from prison. He was paroled in October after serving time for forgery and counterfeiting.
Busby is being held on a $50,000 cash surety bond and is currently lodged in Jackson State Prison on a parole violation in connection with the child’s death.
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