Toddler Beaten to Death by Young Mother in Kentucky; State Pushing Her for Death Row

Authorities say that a young mother abused her baby so badly that the toddler died. The mother is now in jail.

Second-degree murder, failing to report child dependency neglect or abuse, first-degree criminal abuse, and first-degree wanton endangerment have all been charged against Erica Lawson, who is 21 years old. She is being charged with all of these things because her 17-month-old daughter Elena died.

Lawson was caught by the Middlesboro Police Department for the first time in 2023. Elena was found dead in a hospital in Tennessee on July 30, 2023. She was then arrested. Lawson has been jailed in Bell County, Kentucky, on a $1 million bond since he was caught.

Just before Elena died, her uncle called the cops to say he thought she might be being abused, but they couldn’t find her at the time.

Lisa Fugate, a lawyer in Bell County, wants Lawson to be put to death, but Lawson’s defense lawyers are fighting it, saying that the case has been harmed by false social media reports. The defense lawyers also asked the state to show why this case should be sent to death row.

Greg Coulson, one of Lawson’s defense lawyers, told PEOPLE, “I think that social media is an important part of talking about this case.” “There’s an incredible amount of social media views and hundreds of thousands of interactions that are patently false and contradicted by the evidence.”

Fugate had made claims in the past that were not true, including one that said Elena had been sexually abused, according to Lawson’s defense.

The defense team said there was “zero evidence that anyone sexually abused the child.” The defense also said that Elena had no male DNA on her. Fugate said that there was still more testing going on in answer to these claims.

“The medical examiner found no evidence of sexual abuse,” he said.

Lawson’s lawyers have also asked for the hearing to be held somewhere else. The next time she has to go to court is June 5. Coulson said Lawson would plead not guilty and that the defense team would “continue to defend our client vigorously.”

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