EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — A Wood River nurse was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for causing an overdose that resulted in the death of her mother-in-law, who was in hospice care. Amy L. Melchert, 51, a registered nurse, pleaded guilty in April to involuntary manslaughter. The victim was 85-year-old Wilma Melchert, who was under home-based hospice care at the time.

At the sentencing hearing, Amy Melchert received the maximum five-year prison term for recklessly and without lawful justification administering a non-prescribed dose of morphine that caused the overdose and death of her mother-in-law.

Forensic evidence indicated that the level of morphine in Wilma Melchert’s blood was several times higher than the prescribed level. Wood River Police investigated due to an inconsistency in the amount of unused medication prescribed for Wilma Melchert.

Wilma Melchert had been diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, and dementia. According to a medical certification for her admission to hospice care, her life expectancy was six months or less.

At the sentencing hearing, Assistant State’s Attorney Ryan Kemper and Assistant State’s Attorney Gina McNabnay presented evidence indicating that Amy Melchert had a desire to hasten the death of Wilma Melchert.

The prosecutors presented records of text messages Amy Melchert sent to others regarding an upcoming vacation and her aversion to the possibility of having to accommodate other relatives in her home for an extended period.

Kemper argued that Amy Melchert was “far more concerned” about the vacation and the presence of others in her home than the comfort and care of Wilma Melchert.

Associate Judge Neil Schroeder issued the sentence. The defense asked for a sentence of probation, citing the defendant’s lack of a criminal history.

The state licensure board has suspended Amy Melchert’s nursing license. Prosecutors will ensure that the licensure board is informed of the conviction and sentence to ensure the permanent revocation of her license.