Closing arguments in case of starved Richmond 2-year-old delayed - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Closing arguments in case of starved Richmond 2-year-old delayed to Friday


Closing arguments in the case of the Richmond mom accused of starving to death her two-year-old son will be delayed until Friday because of a scheduling conflict for the judge. Wednesday, both the prosecution and defense attorneys for Ashley Williams finished presenting their evidence.

Williams took the stand in her own defense. She is charged with felony murder and felony child neglect, which come with a maximum sentence of fifty years in prison.

Williams' defense team played the 911 tapes from May 30, 2009, after Williams realized something was wrong with her son, D'Sean. She sounds hysterical. On the stand, while listening to the recording of the 911 dispatchers telling her how to do CPR on the two-year-old, Williams was sobbing. Family members in the audience were also crying.

Like her attorneys have done throughout the course of this case, Ashley Williams' testimony shifted blame to D'Sean's doctors. She says she was very concerned about D'Sean's weight and the way he was eating a month before he died. Williams said pediatricians led her to believe as long as he was eating, he'd be fine.

Williams' attorney, Joe Morrissey, asked her if she'd done absolutely everything the doctors told her to do. She simply replied "yes."  Prosecutors harped on that during her cross examination.

She responded to a lot of the questioning with "I don't know" and "I don't remember."

There was a dramatic moment on the stand when prosecutors showed Williams autopsy photos of her son's emaciated body, asking if she had noticed a difference in him in the last month of his life. She said "no" and refused to look at the pictures.

Jurors also got a better picture of who Ashley Williams is from the people who know her best. As part of the defense case, attorneys called friends, neighbors and family members of Williams.

Her sisters testified the Richmond woman is a good mother and they never saw her deprive two-year-old D'Sean or treat him any differently than her other children.

They differed, however, on D'Sean's eating habits. One said she was "amazed at how much he could eat," but another detailed his refusal to eat and said if he did take a bite, he would just hold the food in his mouth.

One common thread among the testimonies is that several children in the Williams family have "failure to thrive," which means they have trouble putting on and keeping on weight. The defense maintains D'Sean's condition was undiagnosed and that's why he's not here today.

In fact, a defense child abuse and neglect expert's testimony explained D'Sean's failure to thrive. Dr. Cantor said when D'Sean weighed in at 18lbs, 2oz at a doctor's appointment on April 24, 2009, he should have been sent straight to the hospital, noting that is the moment he started the "downward spiral of failure to thrive."

She called his case "a medical emergency" and said "nothing the parent could have done at the home" could have saved D'Sean's life.

Prosecutors recalled their medical expert to rebut that testimony.

Attorneys, the judge and jury are expected back in court Friday morning for closing arguments and deliberations.

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