Mansfield man imprisoned for leaving son with mentally ill wife, who killed him

FORT WORTH -- A Mansfield man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for leaving his 1-year-old son alone with his mentally ill wife, who drowned the boy in 2006 because she believed that he was the Antichrist.

Michael Maxon was convicted Jan. 29 of abandoning his son, Alex, placing him in imminent danger of death or serious injury. Despite warnings from mental health professionals and his wife’s sister, Maxon left the baby for about 1 1/2 hours alone with his wife on Jan. 29, 2006, while he ran errands.

After a Tarrant County jury took less than 30 minutes to convict Maxon, his attorney, Jack Strickland, asked Criminal District Court No. 2 Judge Wayne Salvant to assess Maxon’s punishment. He had previously asked the jury to decide his sentence.

Maxon’s sentencing was delayed two months while probation officers prepared a sentencing report ordered by Salvant. After hearing from a psychologist and the daughter of Maxon’s former business partner, Salvant agreed with prosecutors that Maxon deserved some prison time, not probation as Strickland requested.

Salvant acknowledged that Maxon’s trial was unusual in that he was prosecuted not for killing his son but for his failure to stop his wife, Valeria, from drowning the boy.

Prosecutor Alana Minton said Maxon may be the first man in Texas to be held responsible for the actions of his mentally ill wife. That includes Rusty Yates, of Houston, whose wife drowned their five children.

In 2008, Valeria Maxon was found not guilty by reason of insanity of capital murder in her son’s death. She remains in a state mental institution.

The judge said he was disturbed by the fact that Maxon, 56, still doesn’t believe that he is responsible for his son’s death.

“You said over and over that you didn’t do anything wrong,” Salvant said. “I want you to understand that you did. I hope that some day you realize the seriousness of your case and what your actions caused.”