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A Mom Tried To Blame Her Toddler's Fatal Injuries on His 8-Year-Old Sister and a Dog. The Jury Didn't Buy It.

maine mom
Source: MEGA; Waldo County Jail

Apr. 30 2024, Published 2:02 p.m. ET

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A woman took her 3-year-old son to the hospital with various injuries and said his sister and the family's dog caused what turned out to be fatal injuries.

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But medical officials determined the victim suffered constant abuse. Now, the mom faces life in prison after being convicted of murder.

A jury in Maine found Jessica Trefethen, 36, guilty of depraved indifference murder in October 2022, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The killer mom had faced up to life in prison, but a judge sentenced her to serve 47 years behind bars.

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"Maddox mattered. Every child matters," said Maddox's paternal grandmother, Victoria Vose, according to the Press Herald.

In June 2021, Trefethen took her son, Maddox Williams, to a Maine hospital with various injuries, according to a police report obtained by the Bangor Daily News. Doctors determined the child had a fractured spine, bleeding on his brain and countless other injuries.

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Trefethen, a mother of five children, told police that the toddler was knocked over by a dog leash and then kicked by his 8-year-old sister.

Doctors could not save Maddox, and he died from his injuries.


Medical experts determined Maddox’s cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma, according to the Daily News. Police couldn’t contact Trefethen for several days after Maddox’s death. Trefethen’s mother helped her hide from police.

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Trefethen was eventually arrested and charged with murder. After the trial, Vose said she was happy with the outcome. She also called for improvements in the state for checking child protection and welfare.

Prosecutors said they believe Trefethen stomped on the young victim or harmed him another way using significant force, according to the Press Herald. Family members testified Trefethen treated Maddox worse than the other children because she did not like his father.

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The defense continued to push the idea the dog and sister were responsible for the murder. But the jury didn’t buy it and convicted Trefethen after just two hours of deliberations, according to the Press Herald.

"For a mere 10 minutes, the defendant stayed with her son before she fled the emergency room with her mother, and Maddox was left behind," Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said, according to the Press Herald.

The publication recently reported that Trefethen has appealed her murder conviction and is requesting a new trial.


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