According to a ruling made by a judge in Virginia, three relatives facing charges over the death of a 5-year-old boy will be prosecuted in three different trials.
The three, Michelle Boggs, 49, Chasity, 29, and Peter Wodzinski, 32, are charged for the boy's death. They are facing charges of death of a child by parent, guardian, or custodian through child abuse.
Initially, the three pleaded not guilty to the charges of killing Keaton Boggs. They insisted that the boy succumbed to injuries caused by self-harm or accidents.
The boy died two days after he was taken to hospital by his grandmother Michelle Boggs and Chasity Wodzinski. According to doctors, the injuries the boy suffered were irreversible.
The child had bleeding in his brain. He also had bruises all over his body.
Additionally, he also had ear trauma. Shockingly, he also had a laceration on his penile shaft and injuries to his testicles and inner thigh.
According to prosecutors, the injuries on Keaton's body were in various stages of healing. They also argued that the boy's guardians were covering up the evidence of the abuse he suffered while under their care using makeup.
Keaton Was Put Into Under Their Care After His Father's Death
The trio started taking care of the boy after his father passed away in June 2019.
According to reports by two close family members, calls were made to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and its Bureau for Children and Families about a month before he died at the hospital.
The police were able to recover photos and messages in support of the abuse allegations. The evidence was found on Michelle Boggs' and Chasity Wodzinski's phones.
Unfortunately, Peter Wodzinski's phone had password protection. Additionally, it was also incompatible with the investigator's software.
Some of the photos had been deleted from the phones.
The prosecutors intend to use the photos and messages to support the argument that Keaton suffered prolonged abuse at the hands of his guardians.
According to media reports, the prosecutors claimed to have offered the three a plea deal. However, the deal required them to admit that they were guilty of the murder charges leveled against them.
The trio rejected the offer, since the deal also required them to spend 15 years in jail.
The first to be tried will be Peter Wodzinski on March 1. The other two scheduled to be tried on March 29 and April 19.
However, these trial dates might change in consideration of the coronavirus pandemic.
It's heartbreaking that a boy this young would die so horrifically while under the care of his relatives, especially after undergoing the trauma of losing his father.