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UPDATE: Guilty Verdicts in Child Death Case

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

6/23/14 @ 11 p.m.
FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – A jury has recommend a Floyd County man get a life sentence for the murder of his two-year old nephew and 40 years for abusing his sibling.

Monday afternoon, a jury convicted Jason Dickerson of murder and four counts of criminal abuse.

Prosecutors say Jason and his wife Gladys are responsible for the 2011 death of their nephew Watson Adkins.

Family members fought back tears Monday as Judge Johnny Harris read the jury's verdict.

Prosecutors maintained throughout the case that Adkins died from internal injuries caused by repeated beatings.

"It's the worst case I've ever been involved in, and I think that the jury could see that," said Brent Turner, Commonwealth's Attorney for Floyd County. "There was a lot of emotion with everyone involved in the case all the way around, from the witnesses to the attorneys."

Turner says the victim's mother Rhoda Lewis, who had lost custody of Watson and his four siblings, faced several road blocks getting anyone to believe abuse was actually occurring.

"It's just sad that it took one of my kids dying for somebody to listen to me and get it in court and get people to pay for what's happened to my kids," she said.

While the jury's decision will not bring Watson back, Lewis says Dickerson will never again be able to hurt her surviving children.

The defense expressed disappointment at the jury's decision.

"This was probably one of the most best prosecuted cases I've seen in 33 years, and I've had lots of jury trials, and this was probably the best prosecuted case I've seen," said defense attorney Ned Pillersdorf.

Jason Dickerson will be formally sentenced July 31.

Gladys Dickerson will go on trial at a later date.



UPDATE 6/23/14 @ 5:11 p.m.
FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A man has been found guilty of killing his nephew, and abusing the little boy's siblings.

A spokesperson with Floyd County Circuit Court Judge Johnny Ray Harris' office tells WSAZ.com Jason Dickerson, 33, was found guilty on all counts on Monday afternoon.

Dickerson, 33, was charged with murder and four counts of child abuse.

The murder charges stems back to the 2011 death of two-year-old Watson Adkins.

The sentencing phase is currently underway. No word how long that will take.

Jason's wife Gladys is also charged in the case. Her trial is scheduled for a later date.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 6/23/14 @ 2:15 p.m.
FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Testimony has wrapped up in the trial of a man charged with killing his two-year-old nephew.

The trial for 33-year-old Jason Dickerson is taking place in Floyd County Circuit Court. Besides the murder charge, he faces four counts child abuse.

Jason’s wife, Gladys, 29, faces the same charges. Her trial is scheduled for a later date.

Two-year-old Watson Adkins died in September 2011 after police found him unresponsive at Dickerson’s home in Prestonsburg.

The couple, who were Watson’s aunt and uncle, had custody of Watson and his four siblings.

Closing arguments in the case are expected to begin around 2:30 p.m. Monday, according to court officials.

The case will then go to the jury.

According to the Floyd County Times, Rhoda Lewis, Watson's biological mother, Gladys Dickerson, Jason's wife, and Watson's older brother, Braxton, testified as prosecution witnesses last week.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 6/19/14 @ 6 p.m.
FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Testimony continues in Floyd County Circuit Court for the trial of a man accused of killing his nephew.

Jason Dickerson is charged with killing two-year-old Watson Adkins in 2011.

According to the Floyd County Times, several witnesses have taken the stand including Watson's older brother Braxton, Jason's wife Gladys, who is also charged in the case, the medical examiner, several neighbors, and caretakers of the children.

Investigators say that Watson died from internal injuries caused by repeated beatings.

Thursday, Watson's biological mother took the stand. According to the newspaper, Rhoda Lewis, who lost custody of her children in February 2011 due to a drug problem, testified that she noted and photographed numerous bruises during her visits. She said she notified social workers, her attorney, and the judge in her case, but nothing was done.

Gladys Dickerson, Jason's wife, also took the stand Thursday. She is also charged in the case, and will go to trial at a later date.

During Gladys' testimony Thursday, the newspaper says she recounted the night before Watson died. She said she found him lying on the ground, with Jason standing over him, with his foot on the little boy's stomach. She also testified that Jason punched the boy in the stomach that night, and lifted him onto the back of the couch, straddling it, and bashed his groin against it repeatedly.

According to the paper, Gladys said that Jason told her that night, "Oh God, if he makes it through this, it'll never happen again."

The next morning, the little boy refused to eat breakfast, according to the paper, and spent the day lying on the couch. Gladys said she found him unresponsive later that day.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case this week and the defense is expected to start Monday.



UPDATE 6/16/14 @ 7 p.m.
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WSAZ) -- An uncle is now on trial in the death of his 2-year-old nephew.

Watson Adkins died in September 2011 in Floyd County, Kentucky.

His aunt and uncle, Gladys and Jason Dickerson, were charged with murder and four cases of abuse against Watson’s siblings.

They were awarded custody of the children after they were taken away from their mother.

On Monday, jurors listened to the opening arguments from the defense and prosecutors and heard what witnesses had to say.

Both sides say medical examiners confirmed abuse was what led to Watson’s death, but they cannot agree on how or when he received the fatal injuries and who caused them.

Prosecutors say Watson died from severe internal injuries caused by repeated beatings during several days, leaving him with bruised organs and intestinal problems.

Prosecutors say Jason Dickerson let Watson go without medical treatment for days and let him lay and die because he didn’t want to take him to the hospital, afraid he would be in trouble.

The defense says Watson’s fatal injuries happened the day that he died, and according to numerous witnesses Jason Dickerson was not in the home at that time.

The defense says the fatal injury that caused Watson’s death will be described as 155 milligram bleed in the abdominal cavity, which caused his death within about two to four hours.

The prosecution says Watson’s injuries were so severe that he would have died even with medical attention. They say even if one drop of blood or bodily fluid were to go into his abdomen that he was going to die anyway.

Both sides mentioned that the Dickersons were in the process of moving to Johnson County the day that Watson died, but will have to prove to the jury whose story is the truth.

Prosecutors say while the Dickersons were in the process of moving, Watson laid on a loveseat all day, where he had slept the night before and had not moved from that day. They say that he suffered and died on the loveseat as the family loaded up trucks and was moving things around him.

The defense says during this time Jason Dickerson was not home. They claim suspicious activity from Gladys Dickerson. Her mother and sister showed up about 3 p.m. the day of Watson’s death. The defense says her car was there, and the doors were locked, and that she was most likely home. She called 911 from the house around 5:30, and says she performed CPR on Watson around 4 or 5 p.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL 6/16/14 @ 11:26 a.m.
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Jury selection is underway for one of the two people charged with the murder of a two-year-old boy in their care.

The trial for 33-year-old Jason Dickerson is taking place in Floyd County Circuit Court. Besides the murder charge, he faces four counts child abuse.

Jason’s wife, Gladys, 29, faces the same charges. Her trial is scheduled for a later date.

Two-year-old Watson Adkins died in September 2011 after police found him unresponsive at Dickerson’s home in Prestonsburg.

The couple, who were Watson’s aunt and uncle, had custody of Watson and his four siblings.

During an interview following her son’s death, Watson’s mother, Rhoda Lewis, said she noticed signs of abuse months ago and is devastated it took one of her children dying to get them out of that home.

“My sister would say one hit the other and they were roughhousing. Well, all children get bruises, but not to the extent my children had them,” Rhoda Lewis said.

Lewis said she documented those bruises during regular visits with her children.

Lewis also said that her children had been living with Jason and Gladys since March 2011, and that they were awarded custody in June 2011.

Lewis did not say why the children were not living with her.

Authorities have not said how the boy died.

In October 2011, as part of the investigation, the KY Office of Inspector General temporarily suspended the license of Dinosaur Playland Daycare, in Prestonsburg. The agency said the daycare failed to report the abuse to authorities. The license was reinstated short time later after no wrongdoing was found.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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