Erica Dotson and Joshua Manns West Melbourne Florida mom & boyfriend face death penalty in child abuse death of 3 year old boy, Jameson Nance.
A Florida woman and her boyfriend have been accused of abusing her 3-year-old son for weeks before killing him as prosecutors now seek the death penalty.
Erica Dotson, 27, and Joshua Manns, 25, were indicted on first-degree murder charges in July after the death of Dotson’s son, Jameson Nance.
On August 19, the state attorney’s office filed a motion of intent to seek the death penalty against the West Melbourne pair, who investigators say are responsible for the child’s death, according to Click Orlando.
Prosecutors described the murder as ‘especially heinous, atrocious and cruel’ and said it was committed after the child had suffered abuse.
Savage injuries inflicted
Manns reportedly called Dotson on June 11, while she was at work, and told her Jameson had drowned in the bathtub.
But when she got back to her West Melbourne apartment, she found that Manns was nowhere to be seen and had never called for medical assistance.
Instead, authorities say, he left her a handwritten note saying he had a seizure while Jameson was in the tub, resulting in him drowning.
Authorities said he wrote in the letter: ‘No one would believe him and he did not want to spend his life in prison for something he did not do.’
The medical examiner, though, did not find any evidence that the young boy had drowned, saying he actually suffered from battered-child syndrome, suffering from weeks-old injuries, including a broken tooth, a broken rib, stab wounds to the head and brain swelling along with a laceration to the jaw.
During initial questioning, West Melbourne detectives said the pair claimed the child drowned in the bathtub FloridaToday reported.
An autopsy later determined that the child had been abused for at least three weeks prior to his death, according to the affidavit.
Children and Family Service failure
The medical examiner said there were significant signs of hemorrhaging and bruising that were in various states of healing, according to police.
But there was more.
Jameson had also suffered a broken leg last March, with the Florida Department of Children and Family Services saying it was investigating another incidence of a broken leg the boy is alleged to have had when he was just 1-year-old, according to WESH.
Days prior to the boy dying, the department said it had gone to his daycare to investigate ‘suspicious injuries,’ like burn marks on his arm. It remained unclear why Family Services declined to remove the boy from the home.
Manns was arrested in Georgia on June 29, and Dotson was arrested on July 13.
Police believe she knew the abuse was taking place and did nothing to protect the child.
Not immediately clear is why the mother declined to protect her own child.
The couple remains held without bond at the Brevard County Jail Complex.
A trial date has not been set.