On February 23, Judith Sobol was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a three-year-old girl, Ophelia Mazure. Sobol was a home care nurse who cared for the girl in the child’s home while she was under the influence of methamphetamine. The jury in Berrien County, Michigan deliberated for just 45 minutes before revealing their verdict.
The incident took place on June 20, 2022. Mazure was born with several conditions that made it difficult for her to breathe. She used a ventilator connected via a tracheal tube and required around-the-clock care. Both of the child’s parents were trained on how to care for her, but they hired Sobol to look after Mazure at night while they slept.
Witness testimony revealed that Sobol showed up to work late the night of June 19. The child’s mother, Shelby Mazure, woke up at around 2 AM on June 20 to use the bathroom when she heard the alarm on Ophelia’s ventilator go off. Shelby ran into the child’s room to find Sobol lying half on the chair and half on the floor, mumbling incoherently. Ophelia’s tracheal tube was detached, leaving the child unable to breathe, and components of the connection with the ventilator had been strewn all over the floor.
Shelby called 9-1-1 while her husband, James Mazure, performed CPR on Ophelia. The police later arrived to find Sobol lying on the floor rocking back and forth. The parents told the officers that the nurse was high on meth when she came to work. Sobol then admitted to previously having a meth addiction. She said she had been clean for eight months before relapsing.
In court, Ophelia’s parents testified that their daughter loved music and attending school at the nearby learning center, and was growing and thriving despite her conditions.
Sobol could be seen sobbing in the courtroom when the verdict was announced. In addition to second-degree murder, she was also found guilty of possession.
“We’re very happy with the results, but at the end of the day, there are no winners or losers. There’s still a life lost,” said Berrien Assistant Prosecutor Taylor Koch after court adjourned.
The parents declined to comment with Shelby saying, “Maybe at a later date, after sentencing.”
“This is truly a sad case, and there are no winners,” said one of the family’s lawyers, Public Defender Jeffrey Hampel.
Kock played a recording of a phone call Sobol made to her mother while she was in jail. “I just loved (Ophelia). I love that whole family. She was in pain; she was always at the doctor’s. That doesn’t mean she had to die, but at least now she’s not suffering,” the nurse said in the phone call.
Sobol faces up to life in prison with the sentencing scheduled for April 24. Sobol is currently in jail in Berrien County with the bond set at $500,000.