An unemployed Southeast Washington woman has been charged with fatally poinsoning her 8-year-old daughter a year ago while the child was a patient at Children's Hospital.
The woman, Denise S. Robinson, 28, of 744 Burns St. SE, was indicted by a D.C. Superior Court grand jury Tuesday on first- and second-degree murder charges.
Her daughter, Lashaeba Lyons, died of cardiac arrest at the hospital on Aug. 9, 1978, two days after she underwent minor ear surgery and then lapsed into a coma that baffled her doctors.
An autopsy revealed a high level of the drug Thorazine, a widely prescribed depressant, in the child's body.
D.C. homicide detectives declined to discuss what evidence led to the charges against Robinson. Sources close to the investigation, however, said that Robinson had been under the care of a physician who had prescribed Thorazine for her. The sources said that the drug is almost never used at Children's Hospital.
Robinson was not available for comment last night. Her attorney, Robert P. Watkins, said that he had not been informed of the indictment by the court, and therefore could not discuss it.
Watkins said that a negligence suit against Children's Hospital on behalf of Robinson had been "contemplated" but he declined to offer details.
Robinson's father, George L. Robinson, said his daughter is living at his home in Southeast Washington. "She's under a lot of strain since this is the day one year ago that her daughter died," he said.
Police officials said hospital doctors tried vainly for four hours to revive the child after her heart stopped beating.
Police officials said homicide detective Gary Steakley worked for months to develop the case, interviewing medical experts and social workers before brining it to the U.S. attorney's office.
Officials said that an arrest warrant would be issued for Robinson, but that she would have 10 days before reporting to the court for arraignment.