Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for Florida Mom and Lover Accused of Heinous Abuse of 3-Year-Old Boy for Weeks Before His Death

Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against a Florida mother and her boyfriend who allegedly abused and murdered the woman’s young son, WESH-TV reports.

As CrimeOnline reported previously, a grand jury last month indicted 27-year-old Erica Dotson and 25-year-old Joshua Manns on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and child abuse in connection with the death of 3-year-old Jameson Nance.

Investigators allege that the pair abused the toddler, sought to conceal the abuse and neglected treatment for his multiple injuries, which a medical examiner determined occurred over the course of months.

The child died on June 11 under the care of Manns while Dotson was at work. Manns allegedly beat Nance and then called Dotson, claiming the boy had drowned, according to WESH-TV.

Dotson later told police that she discovered her son in the bathtub, but investigators found no evidence of a drowning and there was no water in his lungs.

Instead, an autopsy revealed that Nance had “battered child syndrome,” including weeks-old injuries such as brain swelling, stab wounds, broken legs and fractured ribs, according to the news station.

Tragically, the boy reportedly told adults at school that he was being abused, specifically that Manns would burn him and beat him if he woke up his mother or her boyfriend. State child welfare authorities were also aware of suspicious injuries on the boy and had prior contact with the family. But it is not clear what if anything was being done, according to Florida Today.

Authorities allege Dotson, the boy’s mother, was aware of the abuse and did not stop it.

The State Attorney’s office filed a motion on Aug. 19 notifying the court that it intends to seek the death penalty, WKMG-TV reports. The office has described the murder as “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.”

Police believe the couple abused the boy at their apartment in West Melbourne, which is about 90 miles south of Daytona Beach along the Atlantic coast.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday.

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