It took a jury less than 30 minutes to sentence a mother to 50 years and a $5,000 fine for serious bodily injury to a child by omission in Palo Pinto Thursday, April 4.
Amanda Renae Winters-Collins pleaded guilty to the charges after the grand jury indicted her and her husband, Willie Lee Ray Collins, following an arrest in July. After she entered her plea, she made the decision to let her fate be determined by a jury of eight women and four men.
In his closing argument, District Attorney Michael Burns urged the jury to bring back a sentence they believed demonstrated justice.
"Show that we are a community that recognizes the rule of law," Burns said. "If there is no consequence to breaking the law, then the law is reduced to nothing more than a suggestion."
Winters-Collins and her husband were arrested in July after an initial welfare check by Precinct 2 Constable Marc Moon revealed concerns about the condition of a child at their residence. Moon responded to the trailer located on Kite Road and spoke with the father.nbsp;
"He (Moon) witnessed a small child wrapped in a blanket in the middle of July," said Burns. "The father says he (the child) was premature and has some kind of birth defect but can't remember the name of it."
Moon suggested the sheriff's office call Child Protective Services. CPS responded and investigators found a 5-month-old child in critical need of medical care.
"What she (investigator) saw devastated her," said Burns. "Every single rib in his body was exposed. She saw bones covered with skin."
CPS investigators entered the trailer and saw what appeared to be a doll on the couch. On further inspection they realized it was a very small child, said Burns.
The investigator removed the child from the trailer and called for an ambulance. Shortly after it arrived on scene a medical helicopter was dispatched to transport the child to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth.
Doctors reports from Cook's diagnosed the child as severely malnourished due to lack of feeding.
"He was hours away from dying," said the DA. "His blood sugar was so low, he was starving."