SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Hesperia mother who attacked her 2-year-old child faces life in prison after being found guilty Wednesday of child homicide charges.
Jaimi Roberts, 24, was found guilty of assault on a child causing death, and a separate charge of involuntary manslaughter, in connection with the April 24, 2014 death of her son, Grant Dunn Jr. She faces 25 years to life when she is sentenced May 12 by Judge Eric Nakata in Superior Court in Victorville.
“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. “The defendant deserves every day of her prison sentence.”
Paramedics went to the Hesperia home of Roberts, then 21, in the afternoon after the child had gone unconscious. Roberts and her boyfriend had described to San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies how the child had been throwing up since the day before, but had gotten progressively sicker the next day, and finally stopped breathing and lost consciousness.
Roberts told deputies she had “play-wrestled” with him MMA style on the evening of April 22, 2014, and had elbowed him in the abdomen, but he seemed fine afterward.
The child was hospitalized but died later that afternoon.
According to Foy, an autopsy showed he died from a severe blow to the abdomen, consistent with a punch or elbow, causing the lower intestine to rupture and spilling waste into the abdominal cavity, resulting in peritonitis and then sepsis that spread through his bloodstream and shut down vital organs.
The next day, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s homicide detectives questioned Roberts again. After an hour of denying inflicting any hard elbow strikes during the “wrestling,” she finally admitted she elbowed the boy hard twice in the abdomen, and demonstrated on video.
Roberts also admitted doing Internet searches for the terms “abdominal trauma,” “broken rib” and “appendix injury” an hour before 911 was called. She also admitted inflicting a severe bite wound on the child’s shoulder on the day of the “wrestling.”
During the trial, the victim’s father testified that after he broke up with Roberts, he witnessed her punching the child in the stomach and physically attacked her to break up the assault on his son. That incident was not reported to police.
Roberts testified at trial that she falsely confessed, and never actually elbowed the child to the stomach. She told the jury he never showed signs of serious illness until just before he lost consciousness on April 24, 2014. She denied the prior child abuse as claimed by the boy’s father.
(San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office news release)