A woman will serve 99 years in prison for the death of her 6-month-old son whose corpse was found in an Alabama motel room freezer last summer.
Amanda Gail Oakes, 36, was sentenced on Aug. 28 after she pleaded guilty to charges including manslaughter and corpse abuse. Oakes also agreed to testify against Carlton James Mathis, the boy’s father. It was determined the boy died from methamphetamine ingestion while in the care of his father. Mathis’s murder trial is set for November.
Referring to Oakes’s sentencing, Houston County District Attorney Pat Jones said, “And, a 99-year sentence is the maximum that would be available and we think that would be appropriate for these cases,” according to WSFA12 News.
“We’re pleased with the outcomes,” said Jones.
Mother gets 99 years over death of baby found in freezer https://t.co/AQ0AE8FAuP
— FOX10News | WALA (@FOX10News) August 29, 2019
WSFA12 News reported that before Oakes pleaded guilty to the murder of her baby, the witnesses had already begun their testimony. On Tuesday, Oakes’s daughter spoke before the jurors.
“It was hard for her daughter to testify against her mother. It was traumatic. I suspect she probably suffers from some PTSD having gone through all this trauma,” said Jones.
While in Oakes’s care, her teenage daughter was exposed to drug use, given marijuana, and was present during the shootout that led Police arresting Oakes in Florida, Jones said.
“There was a big shootout and I believe—if I’m not mistaken—the she received shrapnel in her leg,” said Jones. “It’s a miracle she didn’t die in this whole crazy escapade.”
Tennessee Mother Puts Her Baby in Freezer
In a similar case, a Tennessee mother who put her baby inside a freezer and closed the lid has had her charges upgraded to a felony charge of aggravated child abuse and neglect.
Brittany Smith is accused of putting the baby in the freezer the week prior, according to WJHL.
A witness told police officers that he saw the 19-year-old mother place the 8-month-old baby into an unused freezer in the backyard of a house that wasn’t hers.
— David Jones (@davidjones720) June 4, 2019
The mother pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child neglect only, instead of aggravated child abuse.
Judge Stacy Street sentenced Smith to two years of probation, reported WCYB.
Fatalities Among Young Children
According to Amerian Society for the Positive Care of Children (SPCC), 1,720 children died due to abuse and neglect in the country in 2017 and 80.1 percent fatalities involved at least one parent.
Of the total number of children who died, 75.4 percent suffered neglect and 41.6 percent suffered from physical abuse.
SPCC said drug and alcohol abuse among parents and caregivers played a role in child neglect and abuse—1 in 3 or 2 in 3 cases of child maltreatment involve drug abuse by the assaulter to some extent.
The child maltreatment report by the Child Welfare Information Gateway says that the number of children who received child protective services investigation increased 10 percent from 3,184,000 in 2013 to 3,501,000 in 2017.
The report says the percentage of neglect victims with drug abuse caregiver increased from 27.1% in 2015 to 30.8% in 2017.
According to DoSomething.org, approximately five children die every day in the United States because of child abuse. Over 70 percent of these children are below the age of three.
Every year 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported in the country and about 80 percent of 21-year-olds who were abused as children suffered from one or the other psychological disorder.
A substantial number of those present in prisons have been abused, this includes 14 percent of men and 36 percent of women.
Associated Press contributed to this report.