A 4-year-old boy was suffering from an allergic reaction to ant bites when his dad beat him to death inside his girlfriend’s home.
Mr. Kelcey E. Jones appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia regarding his conviction.
But on Monday the state’s highest court unanimously upheld the life sentence of Mr. Jones for killing his son, Joshua.
According to the medical examiner, Joshua died from blunt force injuries to his head and abdomen, as if his head had been slammed against an immobile object and he had been punched or kicked in the stomach.
Mr. Jones was sentenced in Twiggs County to life imprisonment for murder and an additional 20 years for first-degree child cruelty.
In Monday’s opinion, the high court rejected most of the arguments Mr. Jones’ attorney made on appeal, concluding that “the evidence adduced at trial was sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Jones was guilty of murder and cruelty to a child in the first degree.”
However, they did find one error in the trial court entering a judgment of conviction and imposing a separate sentence for cruelty to a child in the first degree. Therefore, they vacated that sentence and as a result, Mr. Jones continues to be under a life prison sentence, but not an additional 20 years for child abuse.
The following details on the case were obtained from federal court documents:
According to the evidence, on Sept. 14, 2003, Mr. Jones was staying at the home of his girlfriend, Ms. Vontrika Willis, when Joshua, who was playing outside, fell on an ant hill and had an allergic reaction to ant bites.
After taking him to the hospital, the girlfriend and Mr. Jones stopped at a pharmacy to have a prescription filled for Joshua.
However, the pharmacy was closing and they were unable to get the medication.
The next morning, Ms. Willis urged Mr. Jones to go back and get the child’s medicine.
The couple argued when Mr. Jones failed to move quickly. Before leaving for the pharmacy, Mr. Jones went into Joshua’s room and closed the door.
Ms. Willis testified he was in there for three or four minutes and she could hear the father hitting his son. After Mr. Jones left, Ms. Willis went into the room to check on Joshua. She found 4-year-old soiled and unconscious.
After cleaning him up the woman, who suffered from a disability, took him to the hospital with the help of a neighbor. The 4-year-old died later that day.
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