JammedUp News

News

Still Not Enough: Mother Who Encouraged Boyfriend To Sexually Assault 4 Month Old Daughter Sentenced to 25 Years In Prison

January 12, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp
Still Not Enough: Mother Who Encouraged Boyfriend To Sexually Assault 4 Month Old Daughter Sentenced to 25 Years In Prison

Are you in a legal jam? Find a Lawyer, Bail Bondsman or Private Investigator on JammedUp.

A mother who admitted she encouraged her boyfriend to sexually assault her 4-month-old daughter — who later died from the attack — has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

During the December 2012 assault, the baby was beaten and strangled, apparently to quiet her crying.

Jessica Lynn Howell, 26, pleaded guilty Friday to felony abuse of a child and felony murder. Felony murder means that Howell is responsible for the baby’s death because the girl died during the commission of a felony — child abuse — a crime that Howell had encouraged, authorities said.

Before Circuit Judge Dan Pelikan handed down the sentence, he asked Howell if she wished to make a statement.

She shook her head no to which Pelikan responded: “You’re not sorry? Don’t you have any remorse? Don’t you wish you had your baby back in your arms?”

Through tears, Howell said: “My actions were foolish. I didn’t understand the weight of my actions.”

Pelikan said that the crimes Howell committed were “monstrous.”

“We all feel badly for that little girl,” he said. “No words can describe the horror she must have gone through. You’ll have a long time in prison to pray for her soul and yours.”

Howell, who lived in O’Fallon, Mo., met her boyfriend, Jordan Lafayette Prince, though Facebook while she was pregnant, police said.

Howell found out he was a sex offender through an internet search. Prince had sexually abused a 4-year-old in Idaho, and she had spoken to Prince about it, police said.

Despite this, she took the baby, Ashlynn Lillith Peters, to Prince’s mobile home in the 3600 block of Fremont Drive in St. Charles to spend the night.

She also sent a series of text messages to Prince — when Ashlynn was just one month old — encouraging him to have sexual contact with her daughter, according to court documents.

First responders who came to Prince’s home Dec. 2, 2012, found that Ashlynn was not breathing, police said. The baby was flown to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, where she died the next day.

An autopsy revealed the cause of death was asphyxiation. The child also suffered serious injuries related to the sexual assault that caused internal bleeding. Those injuries would have caused her death even without the strangulation, according to court documents.

In addition, the baby had bruises to her chest, abdomen, left arm, back and legs. She also was the victim of blunt force trauma to the left side of her head, causing a cut to her ear and bleeding near her skull.

Prince, 26, is facing charges of first-degree murder, abuse of a child and forcible sodomy in Ashlynn’s death. His case is set for trial March 23.

Howell’s plea was part of a deal with prosecutors. If found guilty at a trial, Howell could have gotten a maximum of 30 years in prison on each count. She must serve 85 percent of the sentence before she is eligible for parole.

Howell had two other children. One of them has been adopted and the other is in foster care, officials said.

After the hearing, St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar said the case was one of the worst crimes imaginable.

“This mother tragically failed to protect her child in the most disgusting, unthinkable, and unnatural way,” he said.

Get the latest news from the world of crime