A Hesperia mother faces life in prison after a jury on Wednesday found her guilty in the death of her 2-year-old son, officials said.
Jaimi Roberts, 24, was convicted of assault on a child causing death and involuntary manslaughter in connection with the April 24, 2014, death of her son, Grant Dunn Jr., according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office. He died from complications of abdomen trauma two days after Roberts elbowed him while the two “play-wrestled” MMA-style, prosecutors said.
Roberts will be sentenced May 12 and faces 25 years to life in prison.
“We are very pleased that little Grant Jr.’s killer is being held responsible,” Deputy District Attorney David Foy, who prosecuted the 10-day trial, said in a statement. “The defendant deserves every day of her prison sentence.”
When paramedics were called to Roberts’ home on the afternoon Grant Jr. died, he was already unconscious, the DA’s office said. Roberts and her boyfriend told San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies the child began throwing up the day before and grew sicker the next day before he eventually stopped breathing and lost consciousness.
Deputies also said Roberts admitted she had elbowed her son in the stomach two days before while wrestling with him, but said he seemed fine afterward.
Grant Jr. was taken to the hospital, where he died later that afternoon, officials said.
In trial, Roberts testified he had not appeared seriously ill until right before he fell unconscious on the day he died.
The boy’s autopsy revealed he died from a severe blow to the abdomen, consistent with a punch or elbow, that caused his lower intestine to rupture and spill waste into the abdominal cavity, resulting in peritonitis and then sepsis that spread through his bloodstream and shut down vital organs, according to prosecutors.
When sheriff’s detectives again questioned Roberts, she denied for an hour that she had struck her son with her elbow while wrestling before eventually admitting she hit him hard in the abdomen twice, and demonstrated on video.
She also said she searched the Internet for information on “abdominal trauma,” “broken rib” and “appendix injury” an hour before calling 911, and admitted to severely biting Grant Jr. on his shoulder while wrestling, according to the DA’s office.
In trial, Grant Jr.’s father testified that, after he broke up with Roberts, he saw her punching their child in the stomach and had to use physical force on her to stop the assault. Deputies were not notified of this incident, authorities said.
Roberts denied these claims in trial, and also testified that she falsely confessed when she told deputies she elbowed her son in the stomach, prosecutors said.