LIBERTY, Mo.—After a three-day trial, a jury handed a guilty verdict to 29-year-old Dennis Judson Matthews in his charges which resulted in the death of an eight-month-old and two other children in foster care.
The jury found Matthews guilty of all seven felony charges: one Class A Felony abuse of a child resulting in death, Class C Felony abuse of a child, and four Class C Felony counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree.
The baby died August 17, 2012, as a result of blunt force trauma to her chest and abdomen, which lacerated her heart and liver. Doctors determined after the death of the baby that she had multiple fractured ribs that were in various stages of healing. Doctors testified at trial that the numerous fractures to the infant’s ribs were consistent with the infant being squeezed.
Rebecca Matthews was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree for failing to get medical care for the baby when she stopped breathing after her ribs were fractured. Rebecca was also convicted of acting alone or in concert with Dennis Matthews for:
- Abusing her five-year-old daughter by hitting her and causing bruises.
- Abuse of a child for breaking the arm of her eight-month-old son.
- Three counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree for leaving her five-year-old daughter, 23-month-old daughter, and eight-month-old son in a vehicle where temperatures were over 100 degrees.
- Three counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree for failing to provide her children with adequate milk, formula, or food, causing malnutrition.
“This was an appalling case that reminds us how vulnerable children are to the people responsible for taking care of them,” Koster said. “My hope is that the children who survived this horrific start to their lives will now be cared for by loving, responsible adults.”
The surviving children are currently in foster care.