A jury took just two hours to sentence a Texas mom to 99 years for failing to seek medical care for her five-year-old step-son. The boy had been beaten and weighed just 38 pounds when he died.
When authorities were called after the boy stopped breathing, they also discovered that he had two black eyes and cuts all over his body.
The couple had two other small children, ages eight and two, who were taken into child protective custody. The case seems to fit a classic case of “scapegoating” where abusive parents single out one child for abuse or neglect. The other two children were healthy and appeared to be well-taken care of.
Crystal Williams was accused of failing to provide medical care for her son, and of causing serious bodily injury by starving him. She pleaded guilty last week to failing to get the boy medical help but would not admit that she did not give him nourishment.
Prosecutors had asked the jury for the maximum punishment allowed under Texas law, a 99 year or life sentence. The San Antonio-Express reported that there were almost a dozen deputies in the courtroom when the sentence was read. Williams also expressed no emotions when she was sentenced, or when family members of little Josiah Williams testified.
The boy died on December 27, 2012.
A prosecutor was reported to have told the jury, “When Josiah died, he probably thought, ‘I’m dying unloved, and I’m dying alone.'” She added, “He died in a place with people who were supposed to love him, with no hope.”
The boy’s father and step-grandmother are facing charges that they starved and beat the little boy.
Josiah’s father, Charleston Williams, and the boy’s step-grandmother Gloria Proo, have been charged with felony injury to a child. The offense is a felony of the first degree when the conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly. When the conduct engaged in is reckless, the offense is a felony of the second degree. It is a state jail felony when the person acts with criminal negligence, including criminal negligence by omission.