Example: [Collected via e-mail, November 2008]
It seems that the Mom and the boyfriend had been leaving this child ALONE all day long with a glass of milk and a bowl of chicken nuggets while they went off to school.
Because this darling child went to the bathroom on the floor,
He is facing less than 5 years because of his age. This is NOT a small "boy". He is rather a good sized kid whom one would think was
When this reaches 500 PLEASE to the person who is 500, email this to me at email@example.com
PLEASE NO FAKE NAMES...THIS IS SERIOUS!
Dear Mr. Fitzpatrick,
As tax paying citizens, we demand that the
Origins: On 21 November 2008, the body of 20-month-old Imani Jennings was discovered by her mother, 18-year-old Cherron Patterson, who came home around
Authorities maintained that her killer was 15-year-old Anthony Weakfall Jr., the boyfriend of the mother, whom they said beat Imani for nearly an hour with a metal rod, a cable cord, bedsprings, and his fists after the child experienced a potty-training accident, then left Imani for dead as he headed off to school.
According to news reports on the case, Imani Jennings' abuse did not begin and end on the day of her death. Those accounts stated that for the three weeks prior to Imani's murder, her mother and her mother's boyfriend would leave her alone in a second-floor apartment for six to eight hours at a time, putting out a bowl of chicken nuggets and a glass of milk for her eat while they were gone. Imani's mother and her mother's boyfriend routinely beat her with a variety of implements for having potty training accidents, the press reported. Both old and fresh blood spots from the child were reportedly found spattered on all the walls of the apartment where the family lived.
Weakfall was charged with second-degree murder, and because of his age he automatically qualified for juvenile offender status. An adult convicted on that charge would face a minimum sentence of 15 to
Imani's mother, Cherron Patterson, was charged with second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child after she also admitted to having beaten
Day care worker Diane Shakir was charged with failure to report suspected child abuse (a misdemeanor) and had her day care license revoked. Imani Jennings had been coming to Shakir's day care during the fall of 2008, and three weeks prior to the child's murder, Shakir had taken photographs of the child's injuries and confronted Cherron Patterson with them, asking what was going on. That was the last day Imani was seen at that day care. Child care workers are required by law to report cases of suspected abuse.
The petition to have Anthony Weakfall tried as an adult rather than as a juvenile was directed to Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick. In response to it, he posted the following message on his web site:
1. The defendant Anthony Weakfall is presumed innocent. Any death of a child, particularly a death by homicidal means, is heartbreaking. Our Constitution, however, does not distinguish between the right to a fair trial for defendants charged with mundane crimes as opposed to serious crimes. Emotional responses in the public forum to an alleged crime serve no purpose other than to prejudice a jury pool and make my office’s job more difficult to bring an accused to justice.
2. Everyone who signs this "petition" will likely be excused from ever sitting as a juror on the case.
3. The e-mail author opines "He deserves
4. The e-mail author spends most of the rest of this screed attempting to lecture me about the seriousness of the case and the need to seek justice for Imani. With all due respect, I have been prosecuting murder cases successfully for longer than anyone in the history of the County. I have also lectured to prosecutors all over the Country about infanticide and have consulted with prosecutors in eight foreign countries about issues related to the death of infants. The prosecutor assigned to this case is my Chief Assistant Rick Trunfio who lectures all over the United States on child abuse and is considered one of the leading experts in the field. Neither he nor I need a reminder about seeking justice for Imani
All of us are understandably upset about the circumstances of Imani’s death. But those facts need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a courtroom before impartial jurors who have not made a rush to judgment. All the citizens of Onondaga County can rest assured that I will do my very best to see that Anthony Weakfall gets a fair trial and Imani Jennings gets the peace and justice she so richly deserves.
William J. Fitzpatrick
Onondaga County District Attorney
Last updated: 18 March 2013
Dowty, Douglass. "Syracuse Day Care Operator Charged with Not Reporting Suspected Abuse." The [Syracuse] Post-Standard. 3 December 2008 (p. A1). Dowty, Douglass. "Syracuse Teenager Who Beat Toddler to Death Sentenced to 13 Years to Life." The [Syracuse] Post-Standard. 24 November 2009. McAndrew, Mike. "'I Just Want to Know Why.'" The [Syracuse] Post-Standard. 24 November 2008 (p. A1). O'Hara, Jim. "DA Turns to Web to Answer Critics." The [Syracuse] Post-Standard. 12 December 2008 (p. B5). Sieh, Maureen. "Girl's Death Shows How Public Aid Can't Solve Everything." The [Syracuse] Post-Standard. 23 December 2008 (p. A1). Weibezahl Porter, Sue. "Toddler's Death Brings Shock: 'Words Can't Begin to Describe It.'" The [Syracuse] Post-Standard. 22 November 2008 (p. A1). Associated Press. "Central NY Teen Charged in Toddler's Death" 22 November 2008.