NEW BOSTON, TX -- A mother who failed to protect her child from an abusive father received a 99-year prison sentence late Friday afternoon from a Bowie County jury.
Khadijah Wright, 26, was found guilty of injury to a child by omission in the March 6, 2018, death of her 4-year-old son, D’Money Lewis. D’Money’s father, Benearl Lewis, is serving a life term for murder he received from a Bowie County jury last fall.
During testimony Wednesday and Thursday, the jury learned that Wright and Benearl Lewis had violated a Child Protective Services safety plan which forbid Benearl Lewis from being alone with the children or spending the night in the home where they slept. Witnesses testified that Wright routinely lied to child welfare workers and hid Benearl Lewis from view when they made visits to her home.
In all, witnesses said agencies in three states opened 19 abuse/neglect investigations into Wright and Benearl Lewis beginning in August 2013 when D’Money was just four months old. At that time, he was hospitalized with a subdural hematoma, or bleeding brain due to head injury. While investigators in TexARKana suspected Benearl Lewis was to blame, they couldn’t prove it because two others had access to him in the time frame during which he was injured.
At about 2:15 p.m. March 6, 2018, Wright left her job at Mayo Manufacturing in Texarkana without clocking out or explanation in the middle of her shift. A couple of hours later, she and Benearl Lewis pulled up to the scene of a traffic accident in TEXarkana and asked a patrolman for help with a child who wasn’t breathing.
D’Money was brain dead, multiple organs showed signs of traumatic injury and his body was covered in bruises and linear marks such as one might expect from strikes with a belt. Wright and Benearl Lewis claimed the child fell from a 34-inch freezer.
During closing remarks Friday, First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp theorized that after returning home, Wright helped Benearl Lewis develop an explanation for D’Money’s failing health. Instead of calling for paramedics, the couple stood the dying child on the freezer and let him fall, giving their false account some truth.
“She got back to her house and she knew that baby wasn’t right. She sat there and she waited for the last breath to leave his body and he turned cold. what kind of human being can watch a baby turn cold,” Crisp asked in her closing remarks.
Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards argued that Wright knew the system and worked it. Instead of protecting her four children, Wright, they argued, protected Benearl Lewis.