Mother sentenced in son's stabbing death

Deanna De Jesus pleads guilty to aggravated manslaughter

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The mother of a 9-year-old boy who police said was stabbed to death by his father was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday.

Deanna De Jesus pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter during a hearing Friday. In October, jurors convicted her of child neglect; however, the jury was hung on the manslaughter charge the 38-year-old mother faced.

De Jesus was sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years probation. After she is released, De Jesus will go through a psychological evaluation. She will never have contact with her surviving 7-year-old son, who will be adopted.

"I think that's a fair and just result. I think that life in prison for her part of the crime, quite honestly, wasn't appropriate," said prosecutor Greg Rossman. "Send a message to parents -- you do have to stand up, you do have to protect your children."

"She's going to move on with her life. You know, it's a horrible, horrible thing that happened. She gets it. She understands. We wouldn't be pleading unless it was something that was acceptable to her," said defense attorney Terrence Moons.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said De Jesus did nothing during the Feb. 9 standoff to stop her husband -- who investigators said had already gunned down Ovila Plante, 76, at his RV -- when he stabbed Jeshia, their 9-year-old son, and Samson, their 8-year-old son, who was 7 at the time. According to investigators, William De Jesus brought his family to South Florida from their home in Port Orange to buy drugs that day.

Investigators said Deanna De Jesus only protested when her husband stabbed her.

The state contended that if Deanna De Jesus had done more to protect her son, he might still be alive. BSO said that for several hours after she realized Samson De Jesus was still alive, Deanna De Jesus failed to call for help, although SWAT team members were surrounding the RV. During the trial, jurors heard an audio recording of Samson's interview with detectives following the incident.

Five hours after the incident began, the SWAT team went into the RV and found that William De Jesus and the couple's nine-year-old son were dead, and Deanna De Jesus and the seven-year-old son were critically wounded, BSO said.

Defense attorneys argued that Deanna De Jesus was nothing more than a victim in the ordeal, adding that she was defenseless against her husband, who was armed, and physically incapable of helping her children after William De Jesus turned the knife on her.

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