Man, 18, gets 20 years in Md. child abuse death case
UPDATE: Darryl E. Powell was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Louise G. Scrivener. Scrivener recommended that Powell serve his sentence at the Patuxent Institution Youth Program, as requested by defense attorneys.
ORIGINAL POST: Only one person may ever know exactly how two-year-old Zjaire Williams died: His father.
The 18-year-old, Darryl E. Powell, is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday morning in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Among the autopsy details expected to be presented by prosecutors: Zjaire had bruises over all his body, a lacerated liver split almost in half and bleeding in his brain.
Powell has already pleaded guilty in the case to first-degree child abuse resulting in death, part of an agreement with prosecutors to drop a murder charge, according to previous court hearings.
He is expected to get 20 years in prison, which under Maryland incarceration rules could make him eligible for release within 10 years.
People close to the case call it sad all the way around. Powell was only 17 at the time of his son's death. He called 911, and at one point administered CPR, his attorney, Mary Siegfried, said in court last year. She has recommended he be incarcerated at an institution for young offenders with emotional imbalances and intellectual impairments.
Prosecutors have said they won't object to such a placement.
Those related to Zjaire have described him as always smiling, with a habit of starting each day by donning a ball cap backwards.
In an Oct. 26 plea hearing, attorneys in the case said Powell called the boy's mother on Jan. 6 and asked if she could bring him over to spend the night. She did, at about 2 a.m. on Jan. 7. She would later tell detectives Zjaire was happy, alert and free of injuries when she dropped him off. Her report was confirmed by a friend who was with her at the time, according to prosecutors.
Police and paramedics were called to Powell's home in Gaithersburg at 6:19 a.m., Jan. 7, for a report of an unresponsive child. Zjaire was taken to Shady Grove Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 7 a.m., according to police.
Powell told police he didn't know what happened, according to charging documents and prosecutors' statements in court. He said that the two watched TV, he gave his son water and they went to sleep on different sofas.
When he awoke, Powell told detectives, Zjaire was on the floor and unresponsive, according to a summery of the case by prosecutor Karla Smith at Powell's plea hearing. She said an autopsy showed the child was killed by blunt force trauma such as “beating, kicking or slamming the child.”
-- Dan Morse
January 27, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories: Dan Morse , Montgomery
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