NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk babysitter will serve 28 years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Amir Melton, an 18-month-old toddler left in her care.
The verdict against Ashadiya Brooks comes after a three-day jury trial that featured multiple witnesses, including the child’s parents.
Melton died two days after being found unresponsive at Brooks’ home in the 1100 block of Porter Road back in October 2018. Brooks originally said the child didn’t have any injuries under care, but later told police she remembered the child fell and hit his head on tile flooring. An autopsy revealed the child had multiple head injuries.
On Thursday, the jury heard from three different medical experts who explained to the court Amir’s injuries were severe, in line with shaken baby syndrome and his head being slammed at a high velocity against a hard surface. The medial experts testified what happened to Amir was more severe than Brooks’ story about the toddler falling backwards and hitting his head on the tile floor after tussling with her toddler son over a toy basketball.
It didn’t take the jury long to reach a decision — they deliberated for a little more than an hour before handing down the guilty of second-degree murder verdict. An audible sigh of relief could be heard from the area of the courtroom where Amir’s family sat.
The jury then decided to proceed with the sentencing phase.
Amir’s mother and grandmother other took the stand and spoke about the painful loss the toddler. Amir’s grandmother said grandparents should never have to bury their grandchildren.
Brooks’ husband, Gregory Brooks, took the stand as well during the sentencing hearing. He’s now responsible for raising their toddler son without a mother.
The commonwealth asked for the maximum sentence of 40 years. After more deliberation, the jury recommended 28 years. Brooks waived her right to a separate sentencing hearing so the 28-year sentence was handed down by the judge. Because of Virginia’s laws, Brooks will not be able to receive parole and will therefore serve the full sentence.
After court Friday, 10 On Your Side spoke to Amir’s family, and his grandmother gave a statement.
“Nothing can bring him back, no time, not 28 years. It’s a little justice but I’m glad she can’t do it to no one else. Amir — I called him my chocolate chip — is forever in my heart.”