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Alabama mom who smiled in mugshot after arrest for killing 15-month-old son pleads not guilty to murder

Jordan Ellan Harmon (Lawrence County Sheriff's Office)

Jordan Ellan Harmon (Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office)

A 28-year-old mother in Alabama is denying that she killed her 15-month-old son, who died two years ago after sustaining brutal trauma to the head. Jordan Ellan Harmon, who displayed an ear-to-ear smile when posing for her mugshot following her 2021 arrest, formally pleaded not guilty last week to one count each of murder, aggravated child abuse, and chemical endangerment of a child in the April 2021 slaying of young Emery Michael Knox Wilson, authorities confirmed to Law&Crime.

Travius Sebastian Coleman, 30, who was Harmon’s boyfriend at the time of Emery’s death, is facing the same spate of charges as well as an additional count of aggravated child abuse.

According to a press release from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, deputies on April 11, 2021, responded to an incident at the intersection of Highway 24 and County Road 214. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders found a person performing CPR on a toddler on the floorboard of a minivan. An ambulance was dispatched to the scene and the toddler was transported to Decatur-Morgan Hospital. Due to the severity of the child’s injuries, he was later transported to Children’s of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham for more specialized treatment.

On April 12, 2021, a then-26-year-old Harmon was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated child abuse. She was booked into the Lawrence County Jail on a $60,000 bond. Unfortunately, one day after his mother was taken into custody, the 15-month-old Emery was pronounced dead.

After about five months in detention, Harmon on Sept. 17, 2021, was released after posting a bond of $60,000.

It was not until the autopsy report came back in January 2022 with critical information about the case — including the cause of death and the extent of injuries sustained by the toddler — that Harmon and Coleman were brought back in for questioning.

Lawrence County Sheriff Max Sanders said the report showed that the toddler died from blunt force trauma to the head. The autopsy further showed that the toddler had abrasions, contusions, and lacerations to the scalp, a depressed skull fracture, and a fractured left forearm. Additionally, toxicology tests revealed the presence of cannabinoids in the baby’s system.

Subsequent to an interview with investigators on Jan. 25, 2022, Coleman was arrested and booked into jail, the sheriff’s office said.

Harmon on Jan. 26, 2022, was interviewed concerning the conclusions from Emery’s autopsy report. Based on her responses, she was taken into custody for a second time and charged with the abuse and death of her son.

A Lawrence County grand jury last month indicted Harmon and Coleman on the aforementioned charges, according to a report from Huntsville CBS affiliate WHNT-TV.

Court documents obtained by the station reportedly accuse the couple of “shaking, hitting, striking, or otherwise inflicting serious injury” to Emery “on more than one occasion.” They also reportedly say Harmon and Coleman did “torture, willfully abuse, cruelly beat or otherwise willfully maltreat” the toddler.

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Additionally, Harmon was charged with refusing to seek medical attention for a child having sustained “serious injuries that required medical attention and treatment, including, but not excluding injuries to his head, arm and groin area on at least three separate occasions,” per WHNT.

Both suspects are currently in jail on similar bonds of $1,680,000.

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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.