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A 36-year-old mother and her 17-year-old son are behind bars in New York City nearly a year after the woman’s 7-year-old daughter was beaten to death, authorities say.
Prosecutors on Wednesday announced that a grand jury returned indictments against Navasia Jones and Paul Fine Jr. on several felony charges in the August 2021 death of Julissia Batties. Charges include second-degree murder under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life and manslaughter.
“A woman and her teenage son caused the death of her innocent, defenseless seven-year-old daughter, Julissia, in their Bronx home. The child was beaten and sexually abused and denied medical attention. This is a revolting, disturbing case of brutality and callousness,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said in a press release. “A 10-month investigation with the NYPD led to the indictments charging the defendants with Murder. The investigation revealed that Julissia was failed throughout her brief life. The signs of her torment were there but not acted on. We send our condolences to Julissia’s father and grandmother, who remain devastated by the loss of this beautiful, little girl.”
The mother and half-brother of Julissia Batties have been arrested for the 7-year-old Bronx girl’s 2021 murder, police said. pic.twitter.com/aRKGneTsZN
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) June 29, 2022
According to the DA’s office, between Aug. 8, 2021 and Aug. 10, 2021, Jones and Fine repeatedly abused and beat Julissia in the apartment they shared in the 100 block of Alexander Avenue.
Jones at approximately 8:06 a.m. on Aug. 10 allegedly called 911 at the urging of another family member and reported that her daughter was unresponsive. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders discovered the 7-year-old girl inside of the home. She had “no pulse and no vital signs,” the DA’s office said. Emergency Medical Services personnel transported Julissia to Lincoln Hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead.
Investigators interviewed Jones and Fine, who is Julissia’s half-brother, about the little girl’s injuries. The defendants allegedly told police that Julissia fell down the stairs the previous day. The defendants allegedly said the child then vomited and urinated on herself at approximately 5 a.m. and “fell against various items in the apartment or on the floor.”
Investigators said, however, that those claims were “inconsistent with the fatal and nonfatal injuries on Julissia’s body.”
In an interview with personnel from the City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Fine allegedly confessed, saying that he “assaulted the child all over her body between August 8 and August 10, 2021, and admitted to punching Julissia multiple times on the day of her death,” according to the DA’s Office.
An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that Julissia’s manner of death was a homicide and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to her abdomen.
“Examiners concluded she was struck with enough force to cause her internal organs to tear and bleed, filling her abdomen with blood,” the press release from prosecutors said. “Examiners also found multiple bruises visible about the child’s entire face, chin, and back of right ear.”
Additionally, the medical examiner found that Julissia had sustained “pattern bruising” on her face likely caused by an adult’s fist, which is a common sign of abuse. Additional injuries allegedly included visible bruising, marks, and scratches on Julissia’s body, including on both of her wrists, her clavicle, upper thigh, and mouth.
Investigators also believe that Fine sexually abused his half-sister after she had already sustained her fatal injuries and was dying.
“The child had injuries that were consistent with sexual assault,” the press release continued. “Those injuries were inflicted after Julissia had already begun to experience symptoms caused by the assaults to her abdomen.”
In addition to the murder and manslaughter counts, Jones and Fine were each charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Fine was also charged with first-degree assault and first-degree sexual abuse.
Fine is due to appear back in Bronx Supreme Court July 5; Jones is scheduled to appear on Sept. 12.
[images via CBS New York Screengrab]
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