Fort Worth

Fort Worth woman didn’t stop her son’s murder, so she is guilty too, prosecutor says

A jury is deliberating whether a mother did enough to stop her 2-year-old son from dying from the abuse he received at the hands of her boyfriend.

The mother, Jessica Langlais, is on trial for capital murder. The jury began deliberating shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday. If convicted of capital murder, Langlais will be automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Adrian Langlais was hospitalized on March 18, 2015 — his second birthday — and died the next day.

Prosecutors say Christian Tyrrell slammed Adrian’s head against the wall of his bedroom on March 17. They say although the boy instantly began showing symptoms, including vomiting, not being able to walk and losing consciousness, Langlais only did internet searches about head injuries and gave her son Tylenol.

In August 2017, a jury convicted Tyrrell of capital murder of a person under the age of 10, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors say Jessica Langlais failed to seek medical attention for her son and left him in the hands of a man who suffered from anger issues and used steroids.

Langlais then went to work the next day, leaving Adrian alone with Tyrrell.

By her own admission, she knew that Adrian was in the hands of a man who was on steroids and who had put his fist through the wall above Adrian’s crib as many as 10 times, Kevin Boneberg, Tarrant County prosecutor, said during his closing arguments Thursday.

Langlais’ earlier testimony was projected onto a screen for the jury while Boneberg hammered home the point that she saw her son being killed and turned a blind eye to his injuries.

The screen showed: “Every time his bruises would heal something else would happen.”

Boneberg said: “She let him guide her. He said, ‘If we take him to the hospital, they are just going to say that we hit him.’”

The screen showed: “I wanted to take him to the emergency room and Christian said, ‘Let’s wait.’”

Boneberg asked, showing pictures of the bruised toddler to the jury: “How many times do we have to see Adrian like this before you call 911, before you take him to the doctor, before you pack everything up and leave.”

During a second day of testimony on Thursday, Langlais repeated over and over that she knew she made mistakes, but that she would never intentionally hurt her child.

Boneberg drilled down on her story during her testimony, pointing out that she had extended the time that she took to clock into work and had searched the internet for information on childhood trauma that she said Tyrrell had searched for.

While crying, Langlais blamed the lapses on a faulty memory.

“I told you what I Googled,” Langlais repeated to several questions. “I told you before,” she said later, pleading with the jury. “I don’t know why he keeps asking me.”

Langlais told the jury that she hid in her closet and smoked marijuana because of her anxiety, and then admitted that doing so while her child suffered was not the right decision to make.

“I told you I was ashamed of it,” Langlais said. “I was doing my best.”

Then Langlais told the jury that her toddler had gotten better before she went to work — that he was eating without spitting up, that he was talking to her, that he was drinking and that he had eaten and held down a cracker just after spitting up a banana.

“There’s no way he could have had a skull fracture because of the way he was acting,” Langlais said. “Tyrell must have done something. I would never have left him if I had known that.”

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Mitch Mitchell is an award-winning reporter covering courts and crime for the Star-Telegram. Additionally, Mitch’s past coverage on municipal government, healthcare and social services beats allow him to bring experience and context to the stories he writes.