Avon parents to be tried separately in baby’s death | VailDaily.com

Avon parents to be tried separately in baby’s death

EAGLE — An Avon couple says they’re not guilty in their infant daughter’s death.

Lossie Thomas and Patrick Williams both pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of child abuse resulting in death.

Their infant daughter, Paris Belle Williams, died of pneumonia.

They’ll be tried separately: Thomas beginning May 31 and Williams beginning June 20.

If convicted, they face up to 48 years in prison. In the meantime, they remain in the Eagle County jail.

Thea Reiff, Thomas’ defense attorney, said her client is pregnant and asked District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman to reduce Thomas’ bond so she could help care for the couple’s other two children.

Prosecutor Joe Kirwan countered that, saying given the squalor they were living in, they cannot take care of themselves, let alone children.

“I hate to say this, but the safest place for that unborn child is the Eagle County detention center,” Kirwan said.

‘Child was neglected’

During the preliminary hearing, Kirwan outlined a pattern of inaction and neglect that led to 6-month-old Paris Belle Williams’ death.

Defense attorneys Reiff and Cynthia Jones argued that Williams and Thomas are overwhelmed, working adults with two other children, who work opposite shifts to try to make it all work.

“When questioned, no witness could tie that to the cause of death,” Reiff said.

Paris was born premature, given medical care and then was given a clean bill of health, and no pattern of conduct indicated the kind of criminal neglect that would lead to the baby’s death, Reiff said.

Dr. Robert A. Kurtzman, who did the autopsy on the child, said Paris died from pneumonia. Kurtzman said the baby had symptoms that were “obvious to any caregiver.”

“This is a child that was neglected,” Kurtzman said.

The baby did not look like it was physically abused, in terms of being shaken or hit, Kurtzman said. However, she was under weight, dehydrated, suffered from staph and E. coli infections, and suffered sores on her body. It takes “days” to reach this level of dehydration, Kurtzman said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.