A state appeals court panel Wednesday upheld a Palmdale woman’s second-degree murder conviction for the death of her 23-month-old son, who lingered in a vegetative state for more than a month after being beaten by her live-in boyfriend.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal noted that Rosie Lee Wilson returned home from a karaoke bar to find her son, Anthony, unconscious and severely beaten and “did not seek medical treatment until the following afternoon.”
She subsequently admitted to a sheriff’s detective that she had covered up her son’s bruises with makeup and baby powder before taking him to the hospital on Aug. 22, 2014, according to the 35-page ruling.
The woman had also observed bruising on her son’s buttocks, and allowed the boy — who was “listless and not using his left arm” to “suffer in this state for two weeks” before he was fatally beaten, according to the justices.
But the panel found that it was not the appropriate court to determine whether Wilson is entitled to relief under new state legislation that eliminates liability for murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine — one of the theories argued to jurors in her case. The appellate court justices noted that Wilson must instead file a petition in the trial court.
“Although the record does not reflect the theory upon which the jury relied, it may well be that Wilson could not today be convicted of second-degree murder,” the panel found. “However, we are not the proper court to preside over a hearing of this nature. Should the people choose to introduce evidence outside the record of conviction, for example, only the superior court should take such evidence and make the necessary factual findings.”
A jury in Lancaster convicted Wilson in May 2017 of second-degree murder and child abuse involving her son, who was on life support for about 45 days before dying. She was sentenced in August 2017 to 15 years to life in state prison.
Wilson’s boyfriend, Brandon Jerel Williams, was convicted of first-degree murder, torture and assault, and was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. He was not a party to the appeal.
Two doctors testified that the boy would have had a good chance of surviving if he had been taken to a hospital right away, Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami said after the verdict.
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