Girlfriend Sentenced in Martinsburg Child Abuse Case

Girlfriend Sentenced in Martinsburg Child Abuse Case

Jasmine Dawkins was sentenced to one to five years for two felony counts of gross child neglect, creating substantial risk of serious bodily injury and a single misdemeanor count of lying to medical personnel.
BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. - A Martinsburg woman accused of contributing to the death of her boyfriend's child was sentenced Thursday afternoon at the Berkeley County Courthouse.  

Jasmine Dawkins was sentenced to one to five years for two felony counts of gross child neglect, creating substantial risk of serious bodily injury and a single misdemeanor count of lying to medical personnel. 

As we've reported, three-year-old Kaiwon Connelly died on New Year's Day in 2012. 

It was an emotional day as Dawkins spoke at the sentencing, and sent her condolences to Kaiwon's family. WHAG spoke with attorneys on both sides in this case, as well as Dawkins' parents, after the sentencing. Dawkins' attorney and her parents argued she was a victim of abuse herself. 

State Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely argued Dawkins is an adult who should've known better and watched Kaiwon die. As you may recall, Dawkins was living with the boy's father, James Mauldin, in 2012. Mauldin is charged with beating and burning the child to death.

Games-Neely said if the child first got help when he was first burned the fatal injury probably never would've happened because the child would have been removed from the household. She added that Dawkins was well aware of the burns the child faced because she was responsible for caring and bathing Kaiwon, as stated in the testimony. 

Autopsy reports show Kaiwon died after getting punched in the face. 

"There was a punch to the face that caused the fatal injury that caused bleeding to the brain, and caused the child to die throughout the day. And they watched him die in front of him and did nothing until he completely passed out, and died in front of them," said Games-Neely.

Dawkins was found not guilty of the most serious charge, death of a child by child abuse. Her attorney argues the woman was held captive, beaten and threatened by her boyfriend James. She was also asked not to speak about the abuse that ultimately lead to Kaiwon's death. 

"Ms. Dawkins suffered from PTSD, and the causes of it. Clearly where you have someone who's had a shotgun in her face, a broken jaw, beat down, eye surgery. Clearly the statue wasn't meant to be used against that type of person," said Sherman Lambert, Dawkins' attorney. 

James Mauldin is facing a number of charges in the death of Kaiwon. His trial is set for March 4, 2014. Games-Neely said Dawkins sentencing includes the time she's already spent behind bars from October 11, 2013. 


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