Heidelberg woman to stand trial in overdose death of granddaughter

3rd degree murder charge withdrawn; involuntary manslaughter added

Woman to stand trial in death of 14-month-old granddaughter

WERNERSVILLE, Pa. - A woman accused of giving her 14-month-old granddaughter a deadly dose of morphine will stand trial.

Penny Kochel waived her right to a preliminary hearing at district court in Wernersville, Berks Co., Tuesday morning.

Kochel, 52, had been facing 3rd degree murder, but prosecutors withdrew that charge and replaced it with involuntary manslaughter.

Kochel surrendered to authorities in January after investigators said they determined that her granddaughter, Leanna McEntee, died of a lethal dose of morphine at Kochel's home in Heidelberg Township in May 2009.

Kochel, who was babysitting at the time, said her granddaughter was cranky and wouldn't stop crying, so she gave her a "teething pill," according to court documents.

Pennsylvania State Police said their search of the home also turned up marijuana paraphernalia and a blue glass pipe.

Kochel remains free on bail as she awaits her formal arraignment in Berks County Court.

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