Texas Woman Who Starved 9-Year-Old Boy to Death Receives Death Penalty

| by Lisa Fogarty

A woman from Texas who was convicted of murder for starving the nine-year-old son of her girlfriend 10 years ago has received the death penalty.

On Wednesday, 38-year-old Lisa Ann Coleman will become the 15th woman to be executed by the state for abusing and starving Davontae Williams, who was found by police in 2004 wearing a diaper and bandages and weighing a mere 36 pounds, reports The Guardian.

At the time, a pediatrician examined the child and found that he had sustained more than 250 wounds. Investigators say he had burns from cigarettes or cigars, had his hands, arms and ankles repeatedly bound, had been hit with a golf club, and was severely malnourished. The official cause of his death was pneumonia caused by malnutrition, though Coleman’s attorneys claimed he accidentally drowned in his own vomit.

At the time, Coleman was living with the boy’s mother, Marcella Williams. Davontae had previously been removed from the home by child protective services, and Williams denied her child medical help because she didn’t want to have him taken away from her again. She finally called 911 on July 26, 2014 after the child was reportedly experiencing trouble breathing.

Two years later, Coleman was convicted of capital murder, though her attorneys continued to argue that she suffered from bipolar disorder and had been physically and sexually abused as a child. They appealed the court’s decision, arguing that it was only reached after prosecutors labeled the child’s confinement in a closet as kidnapping, an additional charge that qualified her for the death penalty, reports the Houston Chronicle.

“It has never been Lisa Coleman’s position that she should not be punished for what she did,” said attorney John Stickels, whose appeal was rejected Tuesday. “The position of Lisa Coleman is that she is not guilty of a capital crime.”

Stickels says he plans to take their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Williams, meanwhile, took a plea deal at the time of their arrest and is serving a life sentence in prison. She is not eligible for parole until 2044.

Sources: The Guardian, Houston Chronicle

Photo Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice/AP,