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Stockton Springs woman sentenced in death of 3-year-old son

"Instead of my family getting ready to celebrate Christmas and Maddox's 5th birthday next month, we are here at the sentencing of his murderer."

STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine — A Maine woman convicted in the fatal beating of her 3-year-old son — a crime that led to child welfare reforms in the state — was sentenced to 47 years in prison on Tuesday.

Jessica Trefethen, 36, of Stockton Springs, was convicted of depraved indifference murder in the death of her son, Maddox Williams, who was described by his grandmother as having “head to toe” bruises.

Trefethen didn't address the judge before she was sentenced. 

Andrew Williams, Maddox's father, and his family were emotional throughout the proceedings Tuesday. 

"Instead of my family getting ready to celebrate Christmas and Maddox's fifth birthday next month, we are here at the sentencing of his murderer," Victoria Vose, Maddox's paternal grandmother, said. 

Vose said she believes Trefethen deserved a life sentence in prison. 

"We got a life sentence, life without Maddox, and I felt she should've gotten a life sentence," Vose added.

In June of 2021, Trefethen brought an injured Maddox to Waldo County General Hospital, where he died a short time later. Trefethen claimed the boy was injured when he was caught in a dog leash, dragged, and then kicked by his older sister. But, the medical examiner said his injuries were consistent with battered child syndrome, and he died from blunt force trauma. 

The boy was also missing three teeth and had a fractured spine, ruptured bowel, and brain injury, in addition to other injuries, according to an autopsy.

Williams and his family also fault the Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Office of Child Family Services (OCFS) for placing Maddox in the care of his mother. 

"They were warned several times by my whole family and myself that this was gonna happen and they wouldn't listen," Williams said. 

"Had they acted in a reasonable manner Maddox might still be alive," Vose said.

Bill Diamond, former state senator, was also in attendance at the sentencing Tuesday. He said Maine's Child Protection System continues to fail to protect children in state care. 

"We have to change the policies, the culture in the department of health and human services is broken. The system is broken," Diamond said.

The death of Maddox and several other children in June 2021 drew statewide attention—and reform efforts by state lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills—after parents were charged in their deaths.

The boy’s death was reminiscent of the death of 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy in February 2018 in the same town. Marissa’s mother and the mother’s former husband were convicted of murder.

Williams and his family hope Tuesday's sentencing can lead to a road of healing. They said they hope Maddox is remembered as a "caring, funny, beautiful boy."

"Just holding onto the good memories, which we have a lot, a lot of good memories," Williams said.    

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