RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — A jury found a Richmond mother guilty of murder and felony child neglect Friday afternoon in connection to the May 2009 death of her two-year-old son.
They recommended Ashley Williams serve a total of seven years in prison, 2 years for the neglect charge and 5 years for felony murder.
In response to the conviction and sentencing recommendation, Williams’ relatives said "it’s a disgrace and it’s not over.”
Defense attorney Joe Morrissey pained Williams as a single, hardworking mom from Richmond’s East End who didn’t know any better. He said D’sean’s was misdiagnosed by medical professionals who did not adequately explain the seriousness of the illness to Williams.
In addition, he went on to say that he believed Williams was a “saint.”
Conversely, the Commonwealth argued that Williams made a conscious choice to do nothing to help her son. Prosecutors said the boy’s death was preventable and that Williams could have taken the boy to the doctor during the last five weeks of his life. However they said Williams simply opted to do nothing and watch her son waste away.
Additionally, the prosecution said that if the jury were to let her off, they would be sending a message to other Richmond parents that what happened was an acceptable way to treat children.
The criminal responsibility is on the mother to respond," prosecutors added. ”The system responds when an individual’s problems are brought to their attention. Clearly in this case, Ashley Williams did not go to the system, the doctor or DSS and say she needed help.”
Williams, who will later be formally sentenced by a judge, faces a range of 2 to 10 years for the child neglect conviction. For the murder conviction, she faces 5 to 40 years in prison.
Stay with CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for updates on this important local story.