TEXARKANA, Texas–A man who was sentenced to life without parole last year in the death of a 10-month-old boy was denied a new trial Friday by a Texas appellate court.
Joshua Deshaun Lowe, 30, was convicted of capital murder in October 2022 in the July 2021 killing of young Javonte Neeley. Because the state was not seeking the death penalty, Lowe received an automatic sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
The Sixth District Court of Appeals in Texarkana issued an opinion Friday affirming the conviction.
The appeals court rejected Lowe’s claims that the instructions given to the jury before they deliberated were flawed and that there wasn’t enough evidence to find that he was the one that caused the devastating head injuries that ended Javonte’s short life.
Lowe called the baby’s mother, who had been at work and with whom Lowe had been living for several months, at around 12:30 p.m. on July 11, 2021, to tell her that the baby had choked on food and wasn’t breathing, according to the Friday opinion.
An investigator with the Texarkana Texas Police Department testified that Javonte was cold to the touch when she met Lowe and the baby’s mother in a local emergency room and medical experts told Lowe’s jury that the baby’s temperature was so low at the hospital that he must have been injured earlier than Lowe had claimed.
Lowe told investigators the boy had choked on pieces of hotdog while Lowe was out of the room using the toilet. But medical staff noted bruises in varying stages of healing all over the child’s small body and more testing revealed he had likely been a victim of child abuse for weeks.
X-rays revealed older, healing arm, chest, hand, wrist and rib fractures as well as devastating head trauma. Javonte was pronounced dead July 13, 2021. The baby’s mother, Christy Wedgeworth, 26, was sentenced to 60 years in December after being convicted of injury to a child by omission for failing to protect Javonte from Lowe’s aggression despite knowing he was being physically abusive toward him and his older sister.
Wedgeworth’s conviction and sentence was upheld by the Sixth District Court of Appeals last month.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter represented the state in the cases against Lowe and Wedgeworth and 5th District Judge Bill Miller presided.