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‘A Twisted Sense of Punishment’: Maine Mom Who Viciously Beat 3-Year-Old Son to Death Will Spend Decades Behind Bars

Jessica Trefethen, courtesy of Waldo County Jail

Jessica Trefethen, courtesy of Waldo County Jail.

A 36-year-old mother in Maine will spend several decades behind bars for the horrific murder of her 3-year-old son.

Superior Justice Robert Murray on Tuesday sentenced Jessica Trefethen, also known as Jessica Williams, to 47 years in prison for the depraved indifference murder of young Maddox Williams, authorities confirmed to Law&Crime.

A Waldo County jury in October found Trefethen guilty on one count of depraved indifference murder, meaning jurors found that she manifested a  “depraved indifference to the value of human life” and that such behavior was the reason for the victim’s death.

Victoria Vose, Maddox’s paternal grandmother, appeared remotely to read a victim impact statement during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

“I am broken,” she said, according to the Sun Journal. “My family is broken.” Vose reportedly asked Judge Murray to sentence Trefethen to life in prison.

Prior to handing down the sentence, Judge Murray reportedly highlighted Trefethen’s apparent lack of remorse and described her as having “a twisted sense of punishment,” the Bangor Daily News reported.

“The statements, interviews and behavior by the defendant immediately after the death of Maddox focused on causes by anything but herself,” he reportedly told the court.

Trefethen, who has four other children, was arrested last summer after bringing Maddox to the Waldo County General Hospital where doctors found that he was suffering from a fractured spine, bleeding in his brain, a ruptured bowel, and extensive bruising on his head, stomach, arms, and legs, among other injuries, Law&Crime previously reported. Several of the bruises and bumps on his body had been covered with fake temporary tattoos.

The hospital staff told investigators that Maddox was not breathing when Trefethen brought him to the emergency room. Trefethen told the medical staff that a dog had knocked Maddox over and his sister had kicked him in the stomach, but medical experts said that explanation didn’t explain the boy’s extensive injuries. Hospital personnel told investigators that Trefethen left the facility almost immediately after her son was pronounced dead.

At trial, the medical examiner who performed the child’s autopsy testified that Maddox died due to the fractured vertebrae as well as severe internal injuries to his abdomen, according to a report from the Portland Press Herald. Noting a plethora of older injuries that included a fractured jaw and several teeth that had been knocked out, the medical examiner also reportedly determined that Maddox was a victim of battered child syndrome.

Authorities were unable to locate Trefethen for several days following Maddox’s death. When she was taken into custody on June 23, 2021, she reportedly told police that she had no idea how her son came to suffer such horrendous injuries, though she did say that Maddox “bruised very easily and her kids play wild and crazy,” according to a copy of an affidavit obtained by the Bangor Daily.

Assistant Attorneys General Leane Zainea and John Risler had reportedly asked the court to sentence Trefethen to 55 years behind bars.

“It is simply unbearable to think of a young child wholly dependent on his adult caregiver, being viciously beaten to death by that caregiver, Maddox’s death has deeply affected all that knew him as well as those who tried to save his life,” they wrote in a sentencing memo obtained by the Bangor Daily. “The impact of Maddox’s death is far reaching and will be remembered for many years to come, including by those individuals who served as jurors.”

Trefethen had been facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.

[Image via Waldo County Jail]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.