Utah man who left meth within baby’s reach to stay in prison

By Brooke Adams

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: March 22, 2013 03:38PM
Updated: March 25, 2013 09:06AM

A man convicted of manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend’s baby will serve at least another four years in prison, the Utah Board of Pardons has decided.

Raymond D. Chesley was sentenced to a 1-to-15-year prison sentence in February 2007 after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the death of 5-month-old Estella Jean Lacey. The baby died after ingesting methamphetamine Chesley left within her reach.

Chesley, 50, had his first hearing before the board on March 19. The board scheduled a rehearing in February 2017.

The baby died on Dec. 27, 2005, at Chesley’s home in Taylorsville. Estella had been propped in a corner of a sofa, where she was able to reach a plastic bag containing the drug on the armrest.

Estella became hyperactive and cried for hours after ingesting the drug, but Chesley allegedly insisted the baby would be fine. He and the girl’s mother eventually took the baby to a friend’s house in Murray so police would not find her body in Chesley’s home.

The baby’s mother pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony charge of desecration of a dead body, punishable by a sentence of up to five years in prison. The sentence was suspended and by 2008, the woman had successfully completed community service, substance abuse treatment, received a GED degree and was set to begin college.