A woman was sentenced to life in prison in St. Joseph for the drowning death of her infant son.
In her apartment on December 7, 2017, Sydney Jones of St. Joseph held her 6-month old son under the water in the bathtub for several minutes according to eyewitness Anthony Holmes.
On December 8, Jones had been charged with child abuse resulting in death which is a Class A felony with a maximum sentence of life in prison. Police testified that Jones was acting strange the night of the incident and in follow-up interviews, asking for a soda and repeating the phrase, “I am a child of God.”
Jones was found guilty following a day and a half jury trial on July 24. Mental examinations ruled out mental illness as a defense for her lawyers and there were no witnesses or evidence exhibited in her defense during the trial.
However, at her sentencing on Thursday, Jones’ lawyers called several witnesses to testify about the woman before Judge Patrick Robb decided on her punishment.
One witness was a psychologist who told the court she believed the Department of Mental Health had missed a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia in Jones. Upon meeting with the defendant, the doctor said Jones had told her she felt possessed the night of the incident and that she felt someone was putting thoughts into her head.
A social worker told the court she believed there was a history of mental health issues in Jones’ family, and that this should be taken into consideration during the sentence.
Jones’ father told the court how he believed his daughter was a good mother to her sons, and how the events that night were something he never would have imagined happening.
The prosecution also brought forward a witness. The former administrator of the Buchanan County Jail said that he had no reports of Jones telling workers at the jail of hallucinations. He told the court that Jones had been involved in three fights during her stay, and had been placed in administrative lockdown for three months at one point.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Chad Gaddie argued against the idea that Jones was suffering from mental illness during her child’s death.
Judge Robb ruled that Jones be sentenced to life in prison, with the woman begging for a second chance and her angry mother being escorted out of the courtroom.