11-Month Old Suffered Broken Back, Internal Bleeding

October 9, 2013

Atlanta– An unlicensed daycare owner convicted of killing a child in her care is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow in Fulton County Superior Court. Jurors convicted 44- year-old Maria Owens on Friday of Felony Murder (two counts), Aggravated Assault and Cruelty to Children in the First Degree in connection with the beating death of 11-month-old Jaylen Kelly.

Emergency crews were called to the home of 3051 Broadleaf Trail in Fairburn on June 1, 2011 on a report of an unresponsive child. The baby boy was transported to Piedmont Fayette Hospital and then airlifted to Egleston Children’s Hospital where he later died. When questioned by detectives following the incident, Defendant Owens said she struck the baby a few times on his side to help him ‘clear his cough.’ He later began to gasp and then became unresponsive, she claimed. At trial, several medical professionals testified the baby was killed by an extremely hard blow to the back resulting in a fractured spine. The Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma of the torso which also resulted in massive internal bleeding.

Defendant Owens is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in courtroom 4A. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk will preside over the sentencing hearing.

The case was prosecuted by Chief Senior District Attorney Lance Cross assigned to the Major Felony Unit with assistance from ADA Lauren Travis and DA Investigator Terence Wise. Detective T. Hudson of the Fairburn Police Department led the initial investigation.

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