BALTIMORE — The mother of a child who was injured in a fall at 3 years old, eventually developing cerebral palsy as a result and dying in a group home six years later, was found guilty of manslaughter and child abuse, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
A jury found Tamekia Martin guilty in the death of her son Damaud Martin. Tamekia Martin faces a potential sentence of 40 years in prison when she is sentenced on May 16.
Prosecutors said when Damaud Martin was 3 years old in 2008, his mother slapped him as he sat on the top bunk of a set of bunk beds, causing the boy to fall off the bed and strike his head on a nearby TV stand. Witnesses said the boy had been sitting on the bed playing with other children while his mother was on the phone. She then entered the room, slapped him, and exited the room. The other children in the room told police Damaud cried and collapsed to the ground following being hit.
The boy underwent emergency surgery, but he never fully recovered, eventually developing cerebral palsy, prosecutors said. He was placed in a monitored group home for treatment. In 2014, a worker at the home found Damaud Martin unresponsive in his bed. He died shortly thereafter. The Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide due to the previous traumatic brain injury suffered in the 2008 slap and fall.
Police said Tamekia Martin denied fault during their investigation, telling differing stories about how her son was hurt, but a staff member at the group facility said Martin was once heard whispering to Damaud, “I’m so sorry I hurt you.”