State not seeking death sentence in baby’s murder

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A Bowie County assistant district attorney announced Monday that the state will not seek a death sentence for a man charged with capital murder in the death of an 11-month-old boy.

Joshua Deshaun Lowe, 28, is charged with capital murder in the July death of Javontae Neeley. Fifth District Judge Bill Miller appointed Texarkana attorney Butch Dunbar to represent Lowe at a hearing Monday and scheduled the case for arraignment Nov. 29. Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter said the state is not seeking the death penalty.

Lowe is also charged with injury to a child for injuries allegedly suffered by Javontae prior to his death, including broken bones, and with injury to a child for allegedly abusing Wedgeworth’s daughter, age 4.

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Javontae’s mother, Christy Wedgeworth, 24, appeared in court Monday with an assistant public defender and pleaded not guilty to two charges of injury to a child by omission involving Javontae and her daughter.

According to probable cause docouments, Javontae was unresponsive when he was driven in a private vehicle to St.Michael’s Hospital on July 11. The child’s injuries allegedly did not fit with Lowe’s claim that the boy choked on a hot dog. In an interview with Texarkana, Texas, police, Lowe allegedly claimed he dropped Javontae on the floor because the child threw up on him.

Javontae’s injuries allegedly did not fit with Lowe’s account.

A doctor at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock reported to investigators the day before Javontae died July 13, 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 allegedly suspected Javontae had been violently shaken causing a head injury. Other injuries, such as cracked ribs, were older and had been inflicted days before the injury that caused his death.

Wedgeworth was allegedly aware that Lowe was being physically abusive toward Javontae and toward Javontae’s older sister.

Lowe faces life without parole if convicted of capital murder. If convicted of injury to a child for injuries Javontae suffered before he was fatally injured, Lowe faces 5 to 99 years or life in prison. If convicted of abusing Wedgeworth’s 4-year-old daughter, he faces 2 to 10 years in prison.

Wedgeworth faces 2 to 10 years if convicted of injury to a child by omission involving her daughter and 5 to 99 years or life in prison if convicted of injury to a child with serious bodily injury by omission involving Javontae.

Both Lowe and Wedgeworth are being held in the Bowie County jail. Lowe’s bond is set at $7 million and Wedgeworth’s is set at $1 million.

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