A mother has been jailed after admitting doing nothing to intervene while her boyfriend beat her tiny son to death.
The two-year-old boy, known as “Little Joe” was abused in the home he shared with his 32-year-old mother, Candice Jones, in the US state of West Virginia.
A sentencing court was told how her boyfriend John Powers, 47, had abused little Joseph “JoJo” Garbosky III, while the mum did nothing to intervene.
Powers body-slammed the child into a bathtub, inflicted a third-degree burn on his arm and engaged in abuse that resulted in several broken bones, retinal haemorrhages, brain bleeds and blood clots.
Reports say her son was not taken to the hospital for treatment until two weeks later.
The court was told Jones watched as some of the abuse occurred, and did nothing to intervene, according to the criminal complaint.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports the boy’s father, Joseph Garbosky, wept in court as he watched Jones and Power face their sentencing hearing on Monday.
Reports said the mother and her once live-in boyfriend Powers, both from Green Valley, were arrested in August 2018 following the death.
The pair pleaded guilty for their roles in the 2018 death during a hearing at Mercer County Circuit Court.
Powers entered into a best-interest plea in which he pleaded guilty to death of a child by parent or guardian, and to two counts of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.
Jones pleaded guilty to child neglect resulting in death, which carries a sentence of three to 15 years in prison.
The Telegraph reported Angela Hart, the toddler’s step-grandmother, addressed Jones during the sentencing, telling her that a mother’s job is to protect her children.
She told the defendant: “I begged you to please stop trying to hook up with men on the internet and Facebook for sex.
“You were more worried about having sex than taking care of (your daughter) and Little Joe.”
Hart said the family misses Little Joe’s “beautiful smile and hearing his laughter”.
And she added: “I hope you get the maximum time allowed for this and I hope some day you realise that Little Joe’s death could have been prevented if you would have stopped worrying about having sex or getting with every guy you met online.”
The local newspaper reported Hart then addressed Powers, saying she knew of his history of beating children.
Powers had been indicted by a Raleigh County Grand Jury in October of 1995 for felony child abuse resulting in injury and felony child neglect of a youngster who was also just two.
That case was told his victim suffered burns and abrasions to the forehead, both hands, buttocks, back area and the top of his head.
There was also bruising to the neck and chin area, chest area, genitals and various locations on his legs.
Hart told him: “You deserve to die in prison. I really wish you would see the death penalty.”
Sentencing Judge Mark Wills told Jones he could not understand how a mother could have allowed her child to be abused.
He said: “It literally makes me sick” as he sentenced Jones to three to 15 years in prison, the maximum time under her plea deal.
The judge recommended to the Department of Corrections that she serve 15 years, and told her she would have to register as a sex offender, and be subject to extended supervision for 50 years.
Wills told Powers he was going to recommend a life sentence for him to the Department of Corrections.
He said Powers will also have to register as a sex offender if he is released from prison.