The mother of Jimmy Horton, 3, who was beaten unconscious by her boyfriend and later died, was sentenced Friday to six months in jail for misdemeanor child abuse.
Desie Horton, 33, of Visalia, was originally charged with felony child abuse because she knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it, Tulare County supervising deputy district attorney Brenda Broker said.
When her boyfriend texted her that Jimmy had a black eye, she texted back to use concealer, Broker said.
Despite the felony charge, the jury returned a verdict of misdemeanor child abuse.
Superior Court Judge Joseph Kalashian said Horton is not eligible for early release and ordered three years probation.
Horton’s boyfriend, Trevor Bishop, 34, was found guilty in April of second-degree murder and felony assault on a child resulting in death and is to be sentenced to 25 year to life in prison on July 14.
On March 21, 2013, he brought Jimmy – unconscious and having seizures – into Kaweah Delta Urgent Care on South Court Street in Visalia. The staff called 911.
At first, Bishop told police the boy had been vomiting and he found him on the floor of his bedroom unconscious, but later said he had been throwing him in the air and dropped him.
The boy had a severe brain injury and many bruises and never regained consciousness, Broker said. He was in a vegetative state and died 11 months later.
Broker said Horton started dating Bishop after breaking up with the boy’s father, although at first the former couple shared custody of Jimmy and a younger girl.
But after she moved into a house in Visalia with Bishop in late 2012, she kept the location secret and did not tell the children’s father about the living arrangements.
Bishop soon lost his job and watched the children while she commuted to work in Madera, Broker said. That’s when he started abusing Jimmy, and there are text messages between them about his injuries, Broker said.
The boy’s father, James Horton of Fresno, never saw his son conscious again but cared for him for several months. The boy died Feb. 19, 2014.