NEW BOSTON, Texas: The mother of a 4-year-old who died in March of blunt force head trauma was in court Friday morning for a bond reduction hearing at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston.
At the end of the hearing, 5th District Judge Bill Miller agreed to lower Khadijah Wright’s bond from $100,000 to $20,000 on a charge of injury to a child by omission in the March 8 death of her son, D’Money Lewis. D’Money’s father, Benearl Lewis, 24, is charged with capital murder in the boy’s death.
Dallas attorney Jasmine Crockett told Miller that Wright, 26, and her family do not have the funds to make a bond on the $100,000 bail. Wright’s mother, Marisha Hamilton, testified that she receives disability payments and believes she can afford to pay $2,000.
Hamilton said Wright has been in jail 128 days and has no criminal history, describing her daughter as, “a good kid.”
Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards called the case’s lead investigator, Wake Village Police Department Detective Todd Aultman to testify. Aultman said Wright and Benearl Lewis have been investigated by child welfare agencies repeatedly in Texas and Arkansas and at least once in Mississippi.
D’Money’s oldest sibling is 6 years of age, his youngest is about 2, according to court documents. Aultman said the couple and their children have been the subject of between 10 and 15 investigations by child welfare agencies.
At the time of D’Money’s death, a Child Protective Services care plan was in place which prohibited Benearl Lewis from being alone with the children or from spending the night at their home on Redwater Road in Wake Village. Wright and Lewis allegedly told police Wright was home were D’Money fell or jumped from a deep freezer and hit his head but investigators later determined Wright was away from home at work when D’Money suffered catastrophic head injuries.
Aultman said his office became involved after being notified of D’Money’s dire physical condition by Texarkana, Texas, police. Texarkana, Texas, police were processing a traffic accident March 6 at Bishop Lane and Seventh Street when they were approached by one of the parents about their child. When officers checked on D’Money, they found him unresponsive, not breathing and cold to the touch, Aultman said.
D’Money was rushed to a local hospital and later transported to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock where he died March 8. According to a probable cause affidavit, Aultman documented strap marks and bruises on the child’s body before he was taken to Little Rock. An autopsy report referenced in the affidavit showed D’Money died of massive head trauma.
Crockett argued that Wright’s bond is too high. Crockett argued that Wright’s bond should be lower than Lewis’ as he is charged with a more serious offense and has prior felony and misdemeanor convictions.
Richards argued that Wright is a potential flight risk, has been uncooperative with investigators and has shown an unwillingness to heed court orders. Richards argued that if Wright had followed the CPS care plan forbidding Lewis to be alone with the children, D’Money might not have died.
Miller reduced Wright’s bond to $20,000. Commercial bondsmen typically require payment equal to 10 percent, in this case $2,000, to write a bond. Miller also ordered that Wright be outfitted with a GPS leg monitor, that she work or be actively seeking employment and that she refrain from the use of drugs and alcohol.
Wright and Lewis are both scheduled to appear Aug. 27 for pretrial hearings before Miller. Both are scheduled for separate trials later this year. If found guilty of injury to a child by omission, Wright faces five to 99 years or life in prison. Lewis faces death by lethal injection or life without the possibility of parole if convicted of capital murder.