The aunt of a 3-month-old infant who died of skull fractures in 2012 was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.
Jessica Fax, 29, was sentenced Friday morning in Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman's courtroom.
Prosecutor Charlie Minor said the case was ready for trial but the family of Elizabeth Mia Fry did not wish to relive the horror of what had happened.
"This was their daughter's aunt, somebody they trusted their children with," Minor said.
He said the family told him no amount of prison time, short or long, could bring their daughter back.
According to Minor, Mia's father, Jeremy Fry, got home from work about 7 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2012, and found everyone asleep in the house at 5909 Fort Sumter Drive.
Mia was in the master bedroom with Fax, and his three other daughters were in the next room. He didn't want to wake them. When Fax came out of the bedroom a short while later she said that Mia had eaten about 6 a.m.
Fry figured the infant would sleep a couple more hours, Minor said. Fax left to get ready for a doctor's appointment.
But at 10 a.m. Fry got worried and went to check on his baby girl. Her body was cold, stiff and blue.
A later examination showed the baby suffered five major skull fractures and died from those injuries.
Fax had been watching her niece while Fry and the child's mother were working. She did not say anything happened to the baby and didn't call an ambulance.
The baby had been dead for six to eight hours when her father found her body.
Fax told police she'd dropped the baby in a padded, carpeted area. But the injuries did not align with her version of events. Fax was charged and then indicted on two counts of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect.
She received 15 years on one murder count and 20 years on the aggravated child abuse charge. She must serve 100 percent of each sentence, one after the other, for a total of 35 years.
Fax continues to deny harming Mia.
Contact staff writer Todd South at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter@tsouthCTFP.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...