NEW BOSTON, Texas–A woman whose 11-month-old son was beaten to death by her boyfriend last year was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Thursday for failing to protect him and his 4-year-old sister.
Christy Wedgeworth, 25, was found guilty by a Bowie County jury of injury to a child by omission in the July 2021 killing of her son, Javontae Neeley, and for injuries suffered by his older sister. Joshua Lowe, 29, was convicted in October of capital murder in Javontae’s death and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
“The evidence of Christy Wedgeworth’s complete disregard for the wellbeing and safety of her children was overwhelming,” Bowie County Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter said, expressing praise for jurors.
“Justice would not have been served without the service of the men and women on this jury as well as those who served on Joshua Lowe’s jury,” Carter said.
Wedgeworth was aware that Lowe was being physically abusive toward Javontae and toward Javontae’s older sister but did not act to protect her children. She told investigators she had watched Lowe strike her baby while wearing boxing gloves, according to a probable cause affidavit..
Wedgeworth received 60 years in Javontae’s death and received a 10-year term related to the injuries suffered by her daughter. Fifth District Judge Bill Miller ordered the terms to run concurrently.
Javontae was unresponsive when he was driven in a private vehicle to St.Michael’s Hospital on July 11, 2021, according to a probable cause affidavit. His devastating injuries did not fit with Lowe’s claim that the boy choked on a hot dog. In an interview with Texarkana, Texas, police, Lowe claimed he dropped Javontae on the floor because the child threw up on him.
A doctor at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock reported to investigators the day before Javontae died on July 13, 2021, that his injuries included “abusive head trauma, subdural hemorrhage, cerebral edema, retinal hemorrhages, healing rib fractures, five separate ribs, and bruising, facial scalp, ear, cheek, chest, back and extremity.”
The doctor suspected Javontae had been violently shaken, thrown and slammed onto a hard surface, causing a head injury. Other injuries, such as cracked ribs, were older and had allegedly been inflicted days before the injury that caused his death.
Wedgeworth was represented at trial by the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office.