TUSCUMBIA, Mo. -- First-degree murder charges have been filed against a 23-year-old Iberia woman accused of deliberately setting the blanket of her seven-month-old infant on fire.
First-degree murder charges have been filed against a 23-year-old Iberia woman accused of deliberately setting the blanket of her seven-month-old infant on fire. The infant, identified as Wayne Earl Anderson Jr., died Tuesday afternoon at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics. Miller County Prosecutor Matt Howard added the murder charge against Christina L. White, who is being held without bond. White was charged Wednesday, one day after the baby died from his injuries. The infant had been in critical condition. She had previously been charged with first-degree arson and three counts of child endangerment in connection with the July 11 fire at the home in Iberia. White allegedly used a cigarette lighter to start Anderson’s blanket on fire. He was flown to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body. According to court records, her sister told investigators White left the room where the baby was in his crib after setting fire to the blanket and waited for his crying to stop before going back and picking him up. When emergency personnel arrived, White was allegedly standing in the middle of the street holding the critically burned infant. White allegedly confessed to investigators she started the fire under extreme stress. Her sister reported White said she started the fire in an attempt to get her estranged boyfriend to return home. White was living with her sister at the time. Howard said after hearing of Anderson’s death Tuesday afternoon, he proceeded with filing the murder charge. He has not ruled out pursuing the death penalty. First-degree murder carries a possible punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. This is the first murder case Howard has handled as prosecutor. He took over as Miller County’s first full-time prosecutor in January. Howard said he may consider asking for assistance from the Missouri Attorney General’s office due to their resources and expertise in handling death penalty cases. First-degree arson carries a range of punishment from 10 to 30 years or life in prison. Endangering the welfare of a child carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, according to information provided by the Miller County Sheriff’s Department. White’s bond on the original charges was set at $250,000. She is scheduled to appear in Miller County court Aug. 13. Authorities transferred White to a neighboring jail for her own protection. Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott said he will add extra security when she appears in court later this month. White’s other children have been placed in foster care. Lake Sun Leader, Missouri Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.