SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A South Carolina mother was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the brutal killing of her disabled 4-year-old daughter. The child’s body was discovered beaten to death, stuffed in a dresser drawer shared by the mother and her then-boyfriend. The sentencing took place on Tuesday in State Circuit Court, where Judge Eugene C. Griffith, Jr. handed down the verdict.
Jackleen Elizabeth Mullen, 26, was found guilty of one count of homicide by child abuse and one count of aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse. Her then-boyfriend, Audrevious Williams, is also facing similar charges. Williams testified against Mullen during her trial.
The jury ruled that Mullen was not guilty of one count of murder, which could have resulted in a life sentence. As per state law, Mullen will be required to serve at least 85% of her sentence. She currently has just over three years of time served, and the earliest she will be eligible for release is around 22 years from the guilty verdict.
The victim, India Heavenly Lacey Martin, had special needs and was unable to speak or walk without assistance. The cause of her death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. When the child was reported missing, Mullen initially lied to investigators, claiming her daughter was with a relative in North Carolina. However, the child’s body was discovered in an upstairs dresser drawer in May 2020.
During the trial, police-worn body camera footage was shown, capturing the moment when an officer confronted Mullen about her daughter’s whereabouts. Prosecutors highlighted the fact that Mullen had come to the police station and pleaded guilty to a forgery case while still maintaining the lie about her daughter’s whereabouts.
Mullen’s sentence serves as a measure of justice for the horrific abuse and murder of her daughter. The court’s decision reflects the gravity of the crime committed and sends a message that such acts will not be tolerated. As the community processes this heartbreaking case, it serves as a reminder of the need to protect and advocate for the most vulnerable members of society.