Grandmother pleads guilty in girl’s death

Published 10:25 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A grandmother pleaded guilty Wednesday in the 2011 death of her 2-year-old granddaughter.

Kimberly Artis, 40, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, felony child abuse and neglect, possession of a Schedule III controlled substance and conspiracy to possess the controlled substance.


Police and rescue personnel were summoned to the 1100 block of Truman Road on July 17, 2011, in reference to a child not breathing. Destiny Riddick was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival at Sentara Obici Hospital.

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Artis and Steven Bullock were arrested in June this year after an investigation revealed their granddaughter had ingested suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opiate dependence.

Prosecutor Marie Walls said in court Wednesday that Artis had changed her story several times during questioning. She first claimed her granddaughter got into a pill bottle left at the home that didn’t belong to any of the occupants.

She finally admitted that Bullock had put some suboxone they had purchased on the street three days before into a Mentos container and put it under his pillow in the master bedroom. The child ingested one and a half pills, Walls said.

Experts say “Suboxone tastes just like candy,” Walls said, explaining that it is orange and does not have a bitter taste.

Bullock pleaded guilty in September to similar charges stemming from the same incident.

Sentencing for both defendants is set for Dec. 17.