Jessica Fax Gets 35-Year Prison Sentence In Death Of 12-Week-Old Niece

Friday, May 30, 2014

Jessica Lynne Fax pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Friday in the death of her 12-week-old niece and was given a 35-year prison sentence.

Ms. Fax, 29, appeared before Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.

Mia Fry died in Oct. 8, 2012, while in the care of her aunt.

Her father, Jeremy Fry, had testified that the infant seemed fine when he and his wife left to go on their night shifts. Afterward, they believed for a couple of days that their daughter had died of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Then word came from the medical examiner's office that she had severe blunt trauma to the head.

Ms. Fax's own daughter was at the house on Fort Sumter Drive where the infant died. The father said Ms. Fax, the wife of the brother of Mary Ann Fry, had babysat for the couple a few times before with no problems.

He said he played with Mia and saw her eat prior to going to his night job. He said she had a problem with soft tissue in her tracheal area when she was born and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for two weeks, but appeared fine that morning.

He said everyone was asleep when he got back home about 7 a.m. He said Ms. Fax woke up about 8 a.m. and his wife arrived home about 8:30 a.m.

He said he finally went to check on Mia because she appeared to be sleeping longer than normal. She was in a portable crib in his and his wife's bedroom, where Ms. Fax had slept.

The father said, "She didn't seem to be moving. Then I noticed that she was cold. She had a grayish color. She didn't look right."

He said he asked Ms. Fax to call 911 and he started doing CPR on the baby in the living room. He said when emergency personnel arrived, they told him "there was nothing they could do." The child was eventually taken straight to the medical examiner's office.

Mr. Fry said when he first carried Mia downstairs and said she was not responding, Ms. Fax said, "Oh, no, no, no." He said she took the other girls in the house out back so they would not witness the situation with Mia. The Frys also have girls ages 6, 4 and almost 2.

The child's mother said she talked several times with Ms. Fax in the two days prior to the child's death and before her arrest.

She said at the time, "We all thought it was SIDS."

Det. Rick Whaley said when he arrived at the home around 10 a.m. the child was in rigor mortis. He said that sets in 6-8 hours after death, putting the time of death at from 2-4 a.m.

He said there was no visible trauma on the child. But he later received a call from the medical examiner's office and was told, "You had better get down here."

The county detective said the autopsy had shown multiple blunt trauma to the baby's head. He said there were "some serious skull fractures." There was an overlay of spider-web cracks on the side of the skull and a major egg-shell crack that went almost across the top of the skull.

He said Ms. Fax then agreed to come in and be interviewed. He said she first said she knew of no injury to the baby, then she later said that Mia had dropped head first out of her lap onto the living room floor. She said she was fine afterward and ate before going down.

The detective said the carpet in the living room is heavily padded and the injuries could not have been caused by such a fall.

He said the autopsy showed the child's stomach empty. He said she would not have been able to have eaten after suffering the blows to the head.   


 


No Action Taken On Tennessee Voucher Bill, Though It Remains Alive

A bill that would have allowed the use of school vouchers in Tennessee was "laid on the desk" in the state House on Thursday, delaying it until further notice.   A flurry of amendments had been proposed for the Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act. Beacon Center, CEO Justin Owen, who favors the voucher bill, said,  "It is one thing ... (click for more)

State Rep. Andy Holt Introduces Work Search Requirement For Welfare Recipients

State Rep. Andy Holt introduced legislation that will require able bodied, job ready Tennessee citizens to prove they have been searching for a job before receiving certain welfare benefits. Benefits applicants will be required to apply for at least three separate jobs and provide verifiable documentation of their job applications to the State the week before applying for benefits, ... (click for more)

What Our Schools Are And Have Been Doing About Bullying

Bullying has been a widely discussed topic during the last few weeks in the wake of the incident involving the Ooltewah High basketball team.  Contrary to public opinion, Hamilton County Schools have not been passive in our efforts to address bullying now or for the past several years.  Unfortunately, bullying is a societal norm that is infiltrating our school community, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Warmth For Cold Days

I come across all sorts of warm things every day and as we burrow out of sub-freezing temperatures for a day or two, shaking off ice and snow, allow me to share a few things for a change that may take the bite out of the winter wind. This is what helps me. * * * Judy Bellenfant, who has been a soul mate ever since we shared jokes in high school classrooms, sends along this ... (click for more)

District 5-3A Hoops Haunted By The Owls' Absence

ATHENS, Tenn. – District 5-3A basketball coaches gathered here on Wednesday to set up brackets and choose regular season All-District teams. In terms of all-district selections, the coaches did that fairly simple matter of voting and tabulating the numbers in short order. Bradley Central swept the top player honors when Cole Copeland and Rhyne Howard were selected to the ... (click for more)

Red Bank Picked To Win Region 2-A/AA Wrestling

It appears that the Red Bank Lions will be the target for teams involved in the Region 2-A/AA wrestling tournament being held at Hixson Middle School this weekend. The Lions, fresh off Saturday's A-AA State Duals title, are the early favorites for the upcoming tournament after claiming six number-one seeds in the 14 weight classes during the seeding meeting held Wednesday at ... (click for more)