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Baby Born In Ottawa Jail Cell Last Year Dies

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A baby boy who made national headlines when he was born in an Ottawa jail cell last year has died, his mother's lawyer has confirmed.

Julie Bilotta, then 26, gave birth to her first child, Gionni Lee, on the evening of Sept. 29, 2012, while she was being held in a segregated jail cell at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.

Her son was born one month early and suffered breathing difficulties in his first few days of life. 

Bilotta has alleged that guards and nurses ignored her cries of pain for several hours before she gave birth.

She was first jailed Sept. 24 when she was already about eight months pregnant.

"I am traumatized," Bilotta told CBC News in October 2012. "I feel totally disrespected. I feel like I had one of the most important moments of my life taken away from me, and it's just degrading."

Bilotta had three convictions on her criminal record at the time of the birth. Her first came in November 2010 when she was found guilty of theft. She was then convicted in July 2011 of breaching bail conditions from that first conviction, as well as uttering threats.

At the time of her September 2012 arrest, she was facing charges of use, trafficking or possession of a forged document; fraud; accessory after the fact to the commission of offences; and failure to comply with bail conditions.

She was released on bail after the birth and in February of this year pleaded guilty to some of those charges. Her lawyer confirmed Monday that she was sentenced to time served and was living in Cornwall, Ont., at the time 

Baby suffered respiratory problems

In an Oct. 6, 2013, post under Bilotta's Facebook account, in which she identifies herself as Julie Dakota Garlow, Bilotta wrote that Gionni had been having problems breathing and was admitted to hospital in the night.

"My poor baby was sick all night," she wrote. "I'm just happy we're out of the hospital! Taking a nap, then bringing him to see his brother n sister."

She also wrote that he had been monitored in hospital for the night.

On Sunday, she wrote about Gionni's death.

"How could this happen to us?" Bilotta wrote. "Life will never be the same! We love you, Gionni. Mommy will be with you soon."

She then added that Gionni had stopped breathing in his sleep.

Bilotta's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, confirmed Gionni died on Sunday because of respiratory problems.

Reached by phone Monday, Gionni's grandmother, Kim Hurtubise, said she was too devastated to comment.

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