A mother has been jailed for six months for letting her four year-old son shoot himself dead as she slept.
Tiara Danielle Jefferson, 26, was sent to jail Thursday over the May 2018 death of her son Demetrius, who accidentally killed himself with a .40 Glock while she dozed.
Jefferson’s attorney Jeffrey Everhart said Demetrius’s death at the family home in Richmond, Virginia, had devastated her, and explained: ‘I don’t think it’s too strong to say this has already ruined her life.
‘It haunts her.’
Jefferson entered an Alford plea to felony child neglect in December – meaning that while she didn’t admit the crime, the court treated it the same as they would a conviction.
Prosecutor Toni Randall said Jefferson’s deception had aggravated her punishment after she lied about the gun Demetrius used to shoot himself in the head.
The mother claimed it was a family heirloom, with investigators later discovering it had been stolen from a home in 2017.
During her first interview with police, Jefferson claimed not to have heard the gunshot that killed her son because of prescription sleeping medicine she’d taken.
But she later give another statement that indicated she may indeed have heard the gun go off after leaving Demetrius unattended for three hours.
Everhart told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he was troubled by Jefferson’s sentence, and that he believed the case against her was weak.
He said she’d entered the Alford plea against his advice, and would have faced between two and 10 years behind bars if she’d gone to trial and been convicted.
Her sentencing guidelines called for a prison term between one day and six months long, with the sentencing judge ultimately opting for the maximum.
Everhart said: ‘If you accept what (prosecutors) say, no parent in America could go to sleep.
‘That’s an extremely high standard to hold any parent to.
‘If you give her maximum sentence, she will serve her time and come out, and be alone.
‘If you give her time served, she will still be alone.’
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