After her parents had completed a drug transaction in their Cartersville home, 14-month-old Jewell Williams found their stash of cocaine and ate it. Someone found her the next morning struggling to breathe, but it was too late.
On Monday, the state’s highest court upheld the dad’s murder conviction and life sentence for the toddler’s death, according to the Supreme Court of Georgia.
“We find the evidence sufficient…to authorize the jury to find appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute on the evening in question as charged in the indictment,” Justice Robert Benham said.
Officials said Anthony Tawon Williams and Stephanie Stephens sold crack-cocaine and “loose” cocaine in a rental home where they lived with the toddler and four other children in Cartersville. They kept the stash under an arm of the living room couch or in Stephens’ purse, according to federal court records.
One witness testified that while Stephens sometimes ordered the children out of the room during a drug deal, but Jewell would go back into the room before the drug deal was done, according to briefs filed in the case.
On June 15, 2007, Stephens made the drug transaction while Williams served as the “lookout man,” prosecutors said. later that night Jewell found the drug and ate it, they said. Early the next morning, emergency personnel responded to a 911 call at the home and found Jewell in severe distress.
“The baby had a very weak pulse and an irregular, gasping breathing pattern that is often related to cardiac arrest and death,” according to the medical report. Jewell was transported to the local hospital where she died of acute cocaine toxicity, prosecutors said.
Williams claimed a woman had brought the drug into their home and mistakenly left it behind. But an officer noticed a crystal substance on the floor in front of the couch, and the contents of a vacuum cleaner plugged into the wall nearby later tested positive for cocaine, according to the federal records. In 2009, the couple was convicted of felony murder, cruelty to children, contributing to the deprivation of a minor as well as drug charges, officials said.
By Kimathi Lewis - The Examiner/Nov. 2, 2015
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