Trial for W.Va. couple charged in toddler's death rescheduled for Nov.

August 08, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The trial for two people charged in the 2012 New Year’s Day death of a 3-year-old boy has been rescheduled for Nov. 4 after one of the defendants was determined to have regained competency at a state psychiatric hospital.

James N. Mauldin, 21, and Jasmine K. Dawkins, 24, were indicted in May 2012 in Berkeley County Circuit Court on single counts of death of a child by parent, guardian and/or custodian by child abuse, two counts of gross child neglect creating substantial risk of serious bodily injury and single counts of presentation of false information regarding a child’s injuries in the death of Kaiwon Connelly.

Mauldin, who is the boy’s father, also was indicted on one count of child abuse causing serious bodily and malicious assault.

Mauldin was taken to William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston, W.Va., for treatment earlier this year after he was found not to be competent to stand trial, according to court documents.

“It was a (medication-related) issue,” Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely said Thursday after the new trial date was scheduled by presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge John C. Yoder.

Defense attorney Christopher Prezioso notified the court in March that Mauldin’s mental competency became a concern following the defendant’s behavior at a related abuse and neglect hearing, according to court documents.

The couple’s trial was originally scheduled for Dec. 10, 2012, but was then rescheduled for April 1, 2013, to give experts time to evaluate one of the defendants and review the abuse and neglect case.

Police allege that Dawkins knowingly allowed Mauldin to inflict injuries on the boy that led to the boy’s death. Both are accused of failing to seek medical care for burns on the child’s buttocks and legs, and after knowing that Mauldin struck the boy in the head, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges the couple also falsely stated to authorities that Kaiwon fell and struck his head, causing the injuries.

Dawkins, whose address on her indictment was listed as Pinewood Drive in Waldorf, Md., is not the boy’s biological mother, authorities have said.

Kaiwon had multiple head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain bleeds, police have said.

Dawkins told police the injuries were the result of Mauldin punching the boy several times a few days before the boy was hospitalized.

The boy died at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., police said.

Dawkins told police she did not report Mauldin’s alleged mistreatment of his son, because she was afraid of being abused herself, court documents said.

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