The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld a state Appellate Court ruling that found a Hamden woman guilty of negligent homicide and cruelty in the death of her friend’s 23-month-old son.
The court’s 7-0 decision confirmed the convictions of Sharon Patterson, 44, in the 2008 death of toddler Amari Jackson. In 2009, Patterson was sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years of probation.
In an effort to stop Jackson from wetting the bed, Patterson stopped giving the boy fluids and left cups tainted with hot sauce around the apartment to teach the youngster to leave other people’s drinks alone. The medical examiner ruled that Jackson died of dehydration, WTNH reported.
Patterson offered to care for Jackson while his mother, Sara Hicks, was sick with a fever. Patterson’s brother, Robert, helped his sister take care of Jackson and was sentenced to five years of probation for his role in the death.
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Court documents say Patterson’s IQ is 61 and she has been deemed mentally disabled. The court’s ruling rejected the argument that Sharon’s disability prevented her from knowing that preventing the boy from having fluids could cause his death.
Her lawyer, Mary Beattie Schairer, disagreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“It was a very sad, terrible situation, as it always is when a child dies,” Schairer said. “However, due to her disability, I don’t think my client understood that she was subjecting him to harm.”