Girl Dies After Ingesting Bottle of Antidepressants as Mom, Grandma Are Imprisoned for Murder

The Oklahoma mother and daughter have pleaded no contest to second-degree murder

velva diana patteson_spurlock
Photo: Rogers County Jail

An Oklahoma mother and grandmother, who did not seek medical help for a 12-year-old girl after she took a whole bottle of antidepressants, have pleaded no contest to second-degree murder.

Velva Diane Patterson, 60, and her daughter, Jennifer Christina Spurlock, 36, each pleaded no contest to the charges Wednesday — nearly a year after the death of Spurlock’s 12-year-old daughter, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE.

Patterson and Spurlock were arrested in April 2017 after the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into Alexis’ death after she died of an overdose, according to local station News on 6, the Tulsa World and the Claremore Daily Progress.

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Authorities allege on April 7, 2017, Alexis was staying with her grandmother at her Chelsea home when she consumed an entire bottle of antidepressants. When Patterson discovered her granddaughter on her couch intoxicated, she took the pre-teen to her mother’s home.

Once there, Patterson and Spurlock tried to wake Alexis up. When they couldn’t, Spurlock told Patterson to take Alexis back to her house. Instead, Patterson allegedly left Alexis in the car, where she slept overnight, according to an arrest report obtained by the station.

Patterson allegedly told authorities she checked on her granddaughter every hour.

The following day, with Alexis asleep in the car, Patterson, Spurlock and another juvenile went grocery shopping at a Claremore supermarket. Patterson then called 911 from the parking lot and Alexis was transported to a local hospital, where she died later that afternoon, the document states, according to News on 6.

“It’s a terrible case, probably the most heartbreaking case I’ve been involved with,” Brett Chapman, Spurlock’s attorney, tells PEOPLE. “And my client here has shown remorse on this and she pleaded guilty to her role in this whereas her codefendant, even at sentencing, continued to blame it on us when the child was under her care when it happened. We took our accountability for our role.”

Chapman would not comment on inquiries of if Alexis’ death could be classified as a suicide attempt.

Spurlock was sentenced to 20 years in prison with five years suspended, according to online court records. Patterson was sentenced to 10 years with six years suspended. Patterson’s attorney, Allen Smallwood, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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