Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Mignano Cleared Of Murder Charge In Daughter's Death
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 15, 2004

WINCHESTER, TENNESSEE--Ten days after a Franklin County grand jury charged Margaret Mignano with killing her teenage daughter, the district attorney dropped the charges.

According to the Associated Press, Franklin County District Attorney Mike Taylor withdrew the charges after follow-up autopsy results showed 15-year-old Ashley Mignano did not have lethal levels of the anti-convulsant drug Phenobarbital in her blood when she died of a heart attack on July 4.

Ashley, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy, used a ventilator to breathe.

The original autopsy report, signed by Nashville forensic pathologist Dr. Charles Harlan, indicated that Ashley had more than twice the prescribed dosage of Phenobarbital in her blood. Based on those results, investigators suspected her mother of crushing up the lethal amount of the drug and feeding it to her daughter through her feeding tube.

On November 3, a grand jury indicted Mignano, 50, with one count of first-degree murder.

Taylor said new results from two independent labs show a "therapeutic level rather than a toxic level of Phenobarbital" in Ashley's blood.

"I didn't feel the state could proceed with the prosecution of this case," Taylor said.

Dr. Harlan is currently defending his medical license against state charges of misdiagnosing causes of death in other cases and of destroying evidence in criminal investigations.

Mignano told reporters that the dismissal of charges was the end of her second worst nightmare. Her worst was the death of her daughter.


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.