PERRY -- A Warner Robins mother accused of starving her 2-year-old son to death pleaded guilty to felony murder and cruelty to children Thursday in Houston County Superior Court.
Sade Shamon King, 24, was sentenced by Judge Katherine K. Lumsden to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
King and her live-in boyfriend William Thomas Davis III, 27, were charged with malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children, aggravated battery and aggravated circumstances in the Sept. 11, 2010, death of their son, DShawn Davis. The boy weighed 12 pounds, 6 ounces at his death.
As part of the plea agreement, the other charges against King were dismissed. Also, King received credit for time spent in jail pending trial since her arrest on Sept. 13, 2010.
Davis is scheduled to go to trial May 14.
King showed no emotion as she was sentenced or earlier as prosecutor Daniel P. Bibler went over the facts of the crime before the judge. He noted that the child suffered cruel and excessive physical pain.
On the day of the boys death, paramedics and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the couples Tiffany Place home in response to a 911 call made by King about an unresponsive child who was not breathing.
They were shocked, Bibler said of how emergency workers found the child. He was emaciated. He was in diapers.
The child also had red and raw sores on his body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A review of medical records found that the boy, who had not received medical care the last year of his life, weighed 7 pounds and 12 ounces at birth, Bibler said. At his last pediatric appointment, the child weighed 21 pounds and 16 ounces.
The autopsy ruled the boys death a homicide and the cause of the death as malnutrition, Bibler said. The childs extreme weight loss and malnutrition did not take place in the space of five to seven days but during a period of weeks and possibly months, the prosecutor said.
The boys weight at autopsy was that of a 2½-month-old -- not a 2-year-old, he noted.
When King was interviewed by sheriffs investigators, she told them she was the primary caregiver, and shed let the boys pediatric care lapse because she had been cut off from Medicaid, Bibler said.
Her reason for not taking the boy for medical care was that she couldnt get a ride, Bibler said. She also told investigators that they had no money for food, Bibler said.
But investigators found plenty of food in the pantry and that the couple owned a TV and a computer, Bibler said. Also, an older sister living in the home appeared normal, and a family dog appeared to be fine and well fed, Bibler told the judge.
The boy was kept in a crib with no light, Bibler said. He had sores on his arms and ankles that indicated the possible use of restraints, but no restraints were found by investigators, Bibler said.
The boy suffered physically and emotionally, Bibler said. The boys body grew weak, and he was unable to lift himself.
He was left in the dark to rot and starve, Bibler said.
Bibler told the judge that he does not know why the child was starved.
Theres no obvious reason good or bad, he said. It shows a coldness of heart.
Bibler said he could not think of a worse way to die.
To die at the hand of a parent is unbelievable, Bibler told the judge. But to die this way -- just to be starved, ignored and left alone.
David Daniell, a Warner Robins attorney appointed to represent the mother, said King, who is taking antidepressants, understood the nature of the plea and its implications.
Ms. King made it clear to me her intention to take responsibility for what has taken place, Daniell told the judge.
During the two years he has represented King, Daniell said he reviewed all the evidence, had a court-funded psychologist examine King and an independent expert review the medical records.
When sentencing King, the judge told her she cannot fathom how King found herself in the position she is in before the court.
The truth is theres nothing to say, Lumsden said. Its a horrendous and painful crime, and you are taking responsibility.
Houston County Public Defender Nick White, who is representing the father, had an expert pathologist test tissue samples of the childs body to determine if there was any underlying cause of the malnutrition outside of not being fed, such as cancer. White declined to elaborate Thursday except to say there were favorable findings in relation the fathers case.
Also, the defense expert found that the child could have starved during a period of 18 to 19 days, which would match the period of time the father was working long hours, White said.
The case was inherited by District Attorney George Hartwig and indicted with aggravating circumstances that set the stage for seeking the death penalty if prosecutors desired. Hartwig and Bibler decided not to seek the death penalty.
The 6-year-old sister of the DShawn Davis is living with her grandmother, the mother of William Davis, in Warner Robins.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.