COLUMBUS, Ohio — The mother of a 1-year-old Maryland boy found dead inside a backpack in an Ohio creek pleaded guilty Friday to involuntary manslaughter and evidence tampering.
Dainesha Stevens wanted to take responsibility for her own inaction when a friend of hers beat the child intending to rid him of demons, said her defense attorney, Mark Collins.
Stevens also agreed to cooperate and be truthful in any proceedings against that man, who is expected to be indicted and face prosecution in Franklin County, Collins said.
"It was the first step for her taking responsibility for her inactions ... and not doing more to protect her child," Collins said.
Columbus police found the body of her son Cameron Beckford on the city's east side Dec. 31. The coroner said the boy had bruises on his lower back, kidneys and lungs, and bruises and scarring on his buttocks.
His mother initially told police she left the boy on a stranger's porch but later changed her story, directing police to the creek and providing more information about the man who had beaten her children.
The man believed that Cameron had demons and that beating him was the only way to get rid of them, Collins said. The man injured the toddler on Dec. 25, and when Stevens found the boy unresponsive the following day, they put his body in the bag and left it in the water nearby, Collins said.
He said Stevens stayed with the man in Columbus after she left Frederick, Maryland, in mid-December.
The prosecution and defense are recommending a 12-year prison sentence for the 25-year-old Stevens, whose sentencing is scheduled July 23. She would be eligible to seek judicial release after nine years if she has no problems in prison, Collins said.
A message seeking comment was left with the prosecutor's office.
Cameron's sister, now 7, reported also being beaten by the man and is now back in Maryland with her father, Collins said.
Associated Press reporter Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed to this report.