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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 9, 2018

Parents Sentenced to 12-Year Prison Terms on Charges Related to Starvation Death of Infant Daughter

Seven-Week Old Girl Also Had Fractured Ribs and Clavicle

            WASHINGTON –Jay Crowder, 34, and Trishelle Jabore, 27, of Washington, D.C., were sentenced today to 12-year prison terms on charges stemming from the starvation-related death of their seven-week-old daughter, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Both defendants pled guilty in June 2017, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to charges of voluntary manslaughter, first-degree cruelty to children, and welfare fraud-unlawful food stamp usage. Crowder also pled guilty to a charge of attempted distribution of a controlled substance (synthetic cannabinoid or K2).

            Crowder’s plea, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for an agreed-upon sentence of 10 to 12 years in prison. The Honorable José M. Lόpez accepted the plea and sentenced Crowder accordingly. Following completion of their prison terms, Crowder and Jabore will be placed on five years of supervised release.

            According to a proffer of facts presented at the plea hearing, on Nov. 6, 2016, Jabore gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Trinity. The infant weighed 4 pounds, 14.5 ounces, but was considered at term and healthy.  At the time of her birth, both the mother and child tested positive for THC, an active ingredient in marijuana. Both parents had prior experience parenting newborn children. They received approximately $995 in welfare funds, including food stamps. They paid $9.80 in rent and $50 for Internet service, and they spent money on cigarettes and marijuana; according to Jabore, she and Crowder smoked marijuana most days. Around Thanksgiving, they sold some of their food stamps to a family member for $150.

            On the evening of Dec. 24, 2016, the baby was put to bed in her car seat with a bottle at 7 p.m.  At approximately 9 a.m. on Dec. 25, 2016, Crowder entered his and Jabore’s bedroom, where the baby was still in her car seat.  Crowder picked up the child and felt that her body was limp.  Crowder attempted to feed her a bottle but she would not take it. The baby’s breathing appeared labored at that time, and Jabore said that her lips were yellow. Jabore and Crowder monitored the baby’s condition for about three hours. At noon, Jabore called 911 and stated that the baby was unconscious and not breathing.  Jabore and Crowder reported that she had no signs of illness or any falls or trauma and had not been involved in any accidents.

            The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) were dispatched to the defendants’ home in Southwest Washington. The baby was taken to the Emergency Department at Children’s National Medical Center.  Hospital staff attempted advanced life-saving measures, but the child was pronounced dead at 12:26 p.m.  A doctor reported that she appeared cachectic and had what appeared to be blood in her diaper.

            According to the evidence, the baby did not get adequate food or nutrition.  She lost over 10 ounces in weight from the time she was born. Additionally, the infant suffered 13 rib fractures and clavicle fracture at various stages of healing and severe diaper rash. Neither parent had taken her for medical treatment or care. She was in the exclusive care of Jabore and Crowder.

            Even though Jabore and Crowder had money and their home had plenty of food for older children and adults, their baby starved to death. The parents were providing a fraction of the recommended amount of formula in an effort to make it go further.  Alternatively, when not giving formula, they were giving their newborn cow’s milk (powdered milk or evaporated milk), which is harmful to an infant’s digestive tract.  Chemists with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested a bottle found on the scene. Their testing revealed the bottle contained mostly water and had very little nutritional value.

            The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia determined that the baby’s death was caused by malnutrition and hyponatremia[1], that the fractured ribs and clavicle fracture were contributing factors, and that the manner of death was homicide.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of the detectives, officers, and others who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department, analysts from the Food and Drug Administration, and medical personnel from Children’s National Medical Center. They also expressed appreciation to the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences for assistance in the investigation. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Kelly Blakeney, Stephanie Gilbert, Lornce Applewhite, and Alesha Matthews; Criminal Investigators Tommy Miller, Durand Odom, Nelson Rhone, Sharon Johnson, Shannon Alexis, and Chris Brophy; Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker; Litigation Technology Specialists Anisha Bhatia and Joshua Ellen; Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kahn, and Intern Emily Yu. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia G. Wright, who prosecuted the case.

 

[1] Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Mayo Clinic Staff, Diseases and Conditions Hyponatremia, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyponatremia/basics/definition/con-20031445  (last updated May 28, 2014).

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
18-57
Updated March 9, 2018