Mother found guilty in child neglect death sentenced - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond mother sentenced to 5 1/2 years in starvation death of son


Emotions ran high outside a Richmond courthouse after the woman convicted in the starvation death of her 2-year-old son was sentenced. Ashley Williams will spend five and a half years in prison for felony murder and a probation violation.

Wearing Ashley Williams' favorite color pink in a show of support, her sisters said the jury and the judge got it wrong in holding Williams accountable for the starvation death of her two-year-old son D'Sean.

"I was there and I promise you if I thought for one millisecond that my sister did anything wrong, a) I would not be here because I don't care who you are, I don't back wrong and  b) I wouldn't be this passionate about it," Williams' sister Melva Jones said.

Williams, on the other hand, showed little reaction as the judge handed down the sentence. Defense Attorney Joe Morrissey, who argued the baby died of an undiagnosed medical condition called Failure to Thrive, describes her as "numb."

Williams will serve five and half years in prison. The jury had recommended five years for the felony murder charge and two for the neglect charge. The judge suspended the time for neglect and tacked on another six months for an earlier probation violation involving drug use.

"My blood is literally boiling, boiling from the injustice that has been done here today," Jones added.

Prosecutors were also emotional. They choked back tears, as Williams heads to prison more than four years after an almost unrecognizable D'Sean died from malnutrition and dehydration.

"We both are saddened that D'Sean himself gets a little lost in this response and this thing has blown up to what it is but today I think he was there and justice was done," Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Mary E. Langer," said.

Prosecutor Julie McConnell explained no amount of time would be enough.

"This is a tragedy and there's nothing to compare it to and we could put her in prison for the rest of her life and it wouldn't change the fact that D'Sean is gone and he suffered needlessly," she said.

Williams has another five years and two months hanging over her head if she does anything wrong after serving her prison sentence. Her attorneys say she will appeal.

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