A 39-year-old Texas mother may spend the rest of her life in prison after being convicted of beating her 4-year-old daughter to death in 2017.
A Bexar County jury on Monday found Jessica Briones guilty on one count each of murder and injury to a child in the death of young Olivia Briones, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show. The jury took less than an hour to convict Briones, per the San Antonio Express-News.
According to a report from San Antonio Fox affiliate KABB, Briones on Sept. 5, 2017 brought Olivia to the San Antonio Police Department substation on Prue Road. The child was reportedly unresponsive when she arrived at the station and was rushed to University Hospital for emergency treatment.
A police report obtained by the station reportedly said that Briones told investigators that Olivia had slept through her normal wake-up time and continued to sleep until about noon. That’s when the child awoke and began throwing up, Briones reportedly told police.
Briones reportedly told police that she was on her way to seek medical attention for the child when the child stopped breathing. Briones explained that she then came to the police station because it was closer, per the report. The mother reportedly added that she then began researching possible causes of vomiting in young children and found that head trauma was a possible cause.
An affidavit cited by the local news outlet said that Briones told investigators that she accidentally slammed a door on Olivia’s arm a few days prior to bringing her to the station. Investigators executed a search warrant on Briones’ home where they reportedly discovered a bowl of vomit next to the bed where Olivia slept.
Olivia was pronounced dead one day after arriving at the hospital. Doctors said she sustained a spate of horrific injuries, including “severe bleeding in her head, swelling of the brain, a black right eye, fractured vertebrae, [and] a deflated left lung,” as the KABB report described it.
Briones was apparently unable to provide any explanation as to how the child sustained such severe injuries to her head and was subsequently arrested and charged in Olivia’s death.
During the three-week trial, prosecutors reportedly showed extensive evidence indicating that Briones had been physically assaulting Olivia for a long period of time prior to the 4-year-old’s death.
Photographs placed into evidence by the state showing the extensive injuries to Olivia’s body caused members of the jury to cry on multiple occasions, the Express-News reported. Those pictures included “images of the child’s arms, which appeared deformed, and numerous scars and indented head injuries on her scalp,” as the report put it.
Prosecutors repeatedly told the jury that Briones got pregnant when she was just a student and “resented” her daughter. They reportedly said she likely beat the child to death with a metal bar that came in a garment box.
Briones’ attorney reportedly argued that the child could have sustained her injuries by falling down any of three flights of stairs in the home without her mother knowing. Testifying in her own defense, Briones told jurors that for the last five years she had “picked apart” everything she did and couldn’t figure out where she’d gone wrong.
She faces life in prison when she appears in court for her sentencing hearing.
[Image via KSAT-TV screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]