DALLAS – A North Texas jury on Wednesday sentenced a woman to life in prison for the 2011 starvation death of her 10-year-old stepson.
Elizabeth Ramsey, 33, must serve 30 years in prison before she becomes eligible for parole. The Dallas County jury imposed the sentence a day after taking less than an hour to find Ramsey guilty of intentional serious injury to a child in the death of Johnathan Ramsey.
Ramsey's husband, 35-year-old Aaron Ramsey, the father of the child, already is serving a life sentence in the death.
Prosecutors say the two locked the boy in his room, slowly starved him on a diet of bread and water, and dumped his emaciated body in a rural area south of Dallas in 2011. The body was found the next year in a creek.
Elizabeth Ramsey's attorneys had argued her husband kept her from reporting Johnathan's ordeal.
The boy's grandfather, Edward Ramsey, had contacted police early in 2012 to ask them to search for the child because he had not seen the boy for more than a year. The boy's biological mother, Judy Williams, and other relatives had not seen him for months. Williams lives in New Mexico and has custody of the couple's other son, according to relatives.
Police said Aaron and Elizabeth Ramsey initially said the boy had gone to live with his mother but later confessed to starving the boy.
According to police, Aaron Ramsey said he put his son on "military rations" because the boy began to misbehave early last year. Ramsey said the boy had punched his stepmother in the stomach when she was pregnant, causing a miscarriage. Ramsey said he hit Johnathan in the chest and then locked him in a bedroom, according to court records.
Jurors in Elizabeth Ramsey's trial heard testimony that Ramsey was not pregnant after all.
Johnathan was found lying on the bedroom floor in August, according to court records. Aaron Ramsey told detectives he changed his son into his favorite T-shirt, placed him in a sleeping bag and inserted a dryer sheet to mask the smell of his body, the records said.