Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Lakesha Lanika Artis



Involuntary Manslaughter


6 months

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Judicially Exonerated

Summary of Case:

"Lakesha Lanika Artis was wrongly convicted on February 13, 2014 of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her two-year-old daughter on July 17, 2011 in Suffolk, Virginia. Lakesha's daughter, Destiney Riddick, died after ingesting suboxone, a medication used to combat opiate dependence, that she found the day before in a Mentos bottle in her step-grandmother's bedroom. Lakesha was charged on March 7, 2013 with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and child neglect or abuse. On April 3, 2013 she was granted release on $200,000 bail pending her trial. The judge granted a defense pre-trial motion to dismiss the second-degree murder charge as unsupported by the facts. After the jury convicted her of involuntary manslaughter, Lakesha was sentenced to 6 months in prison. On June 2, 2015 the Virginia Court of Appeals reversed Artis' involuntary manslaughter conviction on the basis of insufficient evidence her conduct was criminally negligent. Destiny's step-grandmother, Kimberly Denise Artis, pled guilty in October 2012 to involuntary manslaughter and child neglect related to Destiny's death, and she was sentenced to 7 years 6 months in prison. Kimberly Artis' boyfriend, Steven Wade Bullock, pled guilty to similar charges in September 2012 and he was sentenced to seven years nine months in prison, to be followed by 20 years of supervised probation."

Conviction Caused By:

Innocence Proved By:

"On June 2, 2015 the Virginia Court of Appeals reversed Artis' involuntary manslaughter conviction on the basis of insufficient evidence of her guilt."

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Was Perpetrator Identified?

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Information Source 1:

"Lakesha Lanika Artis v. Commonwealth of Virginia, No. 1020141 (Vir. Ct. of Appeals, 06/02/2015) (Insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Artis' conduct was criminally negligent; conviction of involuntary manslaughter reversed and dismissed.)"

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Information Source 2:

"Jury verdict overturned, By Tracy Agnew, Suffolk News-Herald, June 4, 2015"

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Information Source 3:

"Mother guilty in child’s death, By Tracy Agnew, Suffolk News-Herald, February 13, 2014"

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Information Source 4:

"Bond granted for Suffolk mother charged in 2-year-old's drug death, By Staff, WVEC TV Chnl 13 (Hampton Roads, VA), April 3, 2013"

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Information Source 5:

"Mom Charged with Murder in Death of Girl, 2, By Staff, The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA), March 8, 2013"

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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