Prosecutor Dares Wesley Mathews to Accept Life Sentence in Death of Daughter Sherin

A Dallas County prosecutor confronted defendant Wesley Mathews during his testimony on Wednesday, and dared him to accept the maximum possible sentence in the death of 3-year-old Sherin Mathews.

“Well, let me ask you this,” said prosecutor Jason Fine. “How about you just sign up for a life sentence right now, and we all go home, and you make things as fair as they can be. You want to do that?”

“I’m more than happy to take it,” Mathews would say.

The defendant testified Tuesday and Wednesday that his daughter choked and died while he was feeding her milk. He initially thought that prayer might bring her back. He also worried about the ramifications of what happened, so he didn’t go to authorities about this, he claimed. Instead, Mathews hid her body in a blue plastic bag and put it in a culvert. Under cross-examination, Mathews denied trying to cover up a crime. He entered a “slow plea” last week to injury to a child by omission, and now jurors must decide what punishment he’ll face: anywhere from probation to life.

In his testimony, he said he thought that maybe a snake would come out of the culvert and fatally bite him so he could be with his daughter in Heaven. He suggested that it was unfair for him to be alive while his daughter was dead.

“That was my complaint to God,” he said.

Fine used this against Mathews during cross-examination. Mathews maintained, however, that the final sentence is up to the jury.

The prosecutor’s style was rather aggressive. He point-blank said he believed that Mathews murdered Sherin. (The defendant was original charged with capital murder and tampering with evidence, but those charges were dropped as part of the slow plea.)

Law&Crime analyst Judge Ashley Willcott said cross-examination made clear to jurors that Mathews “is not capable of telling the telling the truth,” and said the prosecutor had a lot to work with. Willcott argued, however, that it’s possible for argumentative cross-examination to backfire by eliciting forgiveness from jurors. Also, the prosecutor’s questions were long-winded, and might have lost the jury.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]

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