A 27-year-old Philadelphia woman will spend at least 23-and-a-half years in prison for her role in the death of a 2-year-old boy, in what a prosecutor called Monday “an absolutely tragic case of horrific child abuse.”
The body of Azim Jones-Fearon, who was a month shy of his third birthday, was discovered in February 2017 inside an apartment on the 1700 block of N. 17th Street, near the city line in West Oak Lane.
Jedayah Nesmith was sentenced earlier this month to a maximum of 47 years in prison, though she could be released on parole as early as halfway through that term. District Attorney Larry Krasner highlighted the case Monday during his weekly press briefing.
“I think it’s important for people to understand that we’re really good at getting convictions in homicide cases, and we’re really good at doing it without cheating, lying and stealing,” he told reporters.
Nesmith was romantically involved with Azim’s mother, who had asked Nesmith to temporarily take care of the toddler due to a change in her work schedule, according to authorities.
During his month-and-a-half stay in Nesmith’s West Oak Lane apartment, Azim was denied food and water, Assistant District Attorney Nora Nienhagan Greenberg said.
Nesmith lied to the mother, prosecutors said, telling her that Azim was with Nesmith’s mother in the Poconos and that they were unable to be reached by phone.
Azim was discovered after Nesmith’s ex-boyfriend notified police after she offered to pay him $1,000 to get rid of the toddler’s body.
His body had numerous bruises and bone fractures, and he had suffered from bleeding to the brain, according to prosecutors. Azim was also found to have antifreeze in his system, the DA’s Office said.
“The medical examiner was only able to pronounce that the cause of death was homicidal violence because there were so many potential mechanisms for this child’s death,” Greenberg said.
Nesmith pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, child endangerment and reckless endangerment in January 2020, according to court records.