EDGEFIELD, S.C. — A Florida woman who pleaded guilty to killing her 6-month-old son in South Carolina nearly two years ago was sentenced on Thursday to 30 years in prison.
Vernita Lashon Jones, 27, of Clewiston, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to homicide by child abuse in the death of her son, Anthony Frost, in Edgefield County and disposing of his body in a dumpster, the Aiken Standard reported.
Some of Jones’ friends became concerned when they began seeing her around the apartment complex without the boy, the newspaper reported. According to state prosecutors, Jones told her friends that the child was being watched by another family member in Florida.
The concern led to a request for a wellness check by the Johnston Police Department.
According to investigators, Jones admitted to “suffocating” her son on Nov. 24, 2018, in Johnston and then dumping the child’s body in a trash bin behind an apartment in Johnston, according to an arrest warrant. The boy’s remains were found in a Greenville County landfill in November 2018, The Associated Press reported.
The arrest warrant stated that Jones had “an extreme indifference to human life," the Greenville News reported.
Jones and Anthony moved to Edgefield County from Florida in the fall of 2017, the Standard reported, leaving the child’s father, Tony Frost, in Florida.
Text messages from September 2018, presented by prosecutors, communicated violent messages in which Jones threatened to harm Anthony if his father wouldn’t reply.
“On Sept. 27 in a text message she says outright to Tony Frost, ‘Answer the phone before I kill him,’” prosecutors told the court Wednesday. “Then in November, she says ‘Call us now before I beat him.’ He (Anthony) would have been 5 to 6 months old at the time.”
Jones, attorney, Bennett Casto, had asked for leniency, saying the woman suffered from mental illness, according to the AP.
“She was essentially born a crack baby, was raped, abandoned and had a string of bad boyfriends," Casto said Wednesday. “We ask the court for whatever mercy the court seems fit to give.”
The family of Anthony’s father was unable to attend Wednesday’s hearing due to coronavirus concerns, but asked the court in a statement to sentence Jones to life in prison, the Standard reported.
“Tony asks that everyone remember Anthony as the baby who was loved by his family in Florida and not just a baby who was placed in a dumpster,” the statement said.
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