A mum has admitted standing by and watched her boyfriend batter her two-year-old son to death after the toddler had a potty training accident.
Candice Jones would regularly flout the importance of good parenting on social media but in reality she did little to protect son Joseph ‘JoJo’ Gaborsky.
The 32-year-old mum struck a deal with prosecutors last Thursday which saw her plead guilty to child neglect in exchange for a prison sentence of between three and 15 years.
She told investigators she was too scared of lover John Powers, 47, to stop him from battering JoJo at her home in Princeton, West Virginia, in August 2018.
The court heard how Jones simply watched as Powers beat JoJo with a belt and body-slammed him into a bathtub after a potty training accident.
Powers slammed the two-year-old face-first onto the floor, before shaking him violently ‘with both hands by the throat and back of his head’ for between three and five minutes.
The little boy wouldn’t receive medical attention for another two weeks.
Jones claims she failed to call an ambulance or summon police because ‘Powers repeatedly threatened to kill her’.
JoJo died two two days after arriving at hospital, having suffered numerous broken bones, retinal hemorrhages, brain bleeds and blood clots.
Writing on Facebook Jones had reportedly posted numerous photos of JoJo, and her daughter, whose age is not known, and preached the importance of good parenting.
In the ‘About’ section of her profile, she also wrote: ‘i have two wonderful kids a son and daughter. I am separated. the best things in my life are these kids. there (sic) my whole world,’ according to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
In a post under her ‘Favourite Quotes’, she wrote: ‘Any one can say there (sic) a parent but a real parent is there no matter what and is there loveing (sic) unconditionally you can not be a partime (sic) parent it’s a 24 7 job.’
Jones’ father David Hart, whom she lived with before moving in with Powers, voiced disappointment at his daughter’s sentencing, insisting she should be jailed for longer due to her failure to show remorse.
He told the Telegraph : “We’re not happy with it. I don’t think Candice really realizes the severity of what’s happened.
“You know, we lost a grandson, and still today she has not shown any remorse when we talk to her or anything on any of this. And I just don’t think the sentencing is right.
“I think she needs more time. She needs to know the severity of the crime she’s done. I don’t know what else to say about that, I really don’t.”
Speaking about Powers, Hart added: “We’re not happy with either one of them. I think they ought to release him to me. That would be taken care of.”
During a separate hearing last Thursday, Powers – who was previously jailed for 13 months in 1995 for battering the two-year-old son of a former girlfriend – entered a ‘best interest’ plea into death of a child by parent or guardian.
The plea is not an admission of guilt, but instead a concession that the defendant acknowledges there’s sufficient evidence to convict them. He now faces a sentence of between 15 years and life in jail.
“You’re saying you don’t know what happened, won’t admit what happened,” the judge Mark Wills said to Powers about best-interest pleas, adding, “Is that why you are entering this plea, to avoid being sentenced to more time in the penitentiary than you would under this plea agreement?”
Powers said yes in response.
Powers was the live-in boyfriend of Jones at the time of JoJo’s death. The pair had met online just months earlier, before moving in with one another into a mobile home in Mercer County.
The couple were both indicted by a Mercer County Grand Jury in October 2018 on charges including death of a child by parent or guardian by abuse, child neglect resulting in death, child neglect creating a substantial risk of bodily injury or death, child abuse resulting in injury and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.
Powers was also indicted on additional charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.
The 47-year-old claimed he cannot remember how he battered JoJo to death.
Court documents say that Powers reportedly slammed JoJo into a bathtub, inflicted a third-degree burn on his arm and engaged in heinous abuse that resulted in several broken bones, retinal hemorrhages, brain bleeds and blood clots.
The third degree burn was inflicted on JoJo when powers held a ready meal heat pack against his arm, prosecutors said.
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