In surprise move, mom accused of starving child testifies

Posted at 9:50 AM, May 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-22 20:33:07-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Closing arguments in the trial of a mother accused of starving her child to death are expected to begin Friday morning.

Ashley Williams, who previously plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child abuse charges, was granted a new trial last summer after Judge Richard Taylor threw out her plea.

The judge’s decision came after Williams’ defense team said they planned on presenting new information to prove she was not guilty.

Williams was charged with felony child neglect and murder in connection to the May 2009 death of her son De’sean. The two-year-old boy weighed 14 pounds at the time of his death.

In a surprise move on Wednesday, Williams took the stand for the defense even though she was not on the witness list.

The defense played the 911 call that Williams placed on the night of her son’s death. In that recording, a distraught Williams was heard hysterically crying throughout the call.

As it played in open court, members in the audience were weeping as Williams sobbed on the witness stand as she heard the tape played again.

Prosecutors also cross examined Williams and grilled the mother about the specific dates that Williams claims she took the boy to the doctor – and the specific instructions concerning his care.

The prosecutor then showed Williams a picture of her healthy child next to a picture of his autopsy photo. Williams asked the prosecutor to put the photo down and said that she could not bear to look at it.

However, the prosecutor said the graphic photo severs as a reminder of the condition of her son on the last day of his life. And pointed out that Williams had seen her son in that condition before taking the stand.

The judge said the jury will likely begin deliberations Friday afternoon.

Depend on CBS 6 News' Catie Beck for the most extensive coverage of this important local story.