A woman accused of standing by and doing nothing during the year her boyfriend brutalized her young son was sentenced to two years in jail by a jury on Friday.
Jessica Langlais was facing life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder in the death of her toddler son, Adrian Langlais.
Instead, jurors elected to sentence her to the maximum amount available after convicting her of endangering a child. She must also pay a $10,000 fine.
Langlais had wanted a child, said defense attorney Mark Daniel. And when she had Adrian, that child became the center of her life, he said.
“The case is an indescribable tragedy,” Daniel said. “It was a difficult trial. The jury’s verdict and decision was consistent with the evidence.”
Prosecutors said that Christian Tyrrell, Jessica Langlais’ boyfriend, slammed Adrian’s head against the wall of his bedroom on March 17, 2015, the day before his second birthday.
They said that although the boy instantly began showing symptoms, including vomiting, not being able to walk and losing consciousness, Langlais limited her response to internet searches about head injuries and giving her son Tylenol.
Langlais failed to seek medical attention for her son and left him in the hands of a man who had anger issues and used steroids, prosecutors said. Langlais then went to work the next day, leaving Adrian alone with Tyrrell.
Daniel argued earlier in the trial that the fatal injury did not occur until later that day after Tyrrell dropped Langais off at work and before he called 911 a couple of hours later. Adrian “was doing something during that little two-hour, 45-minute interval that led to an eruption of rage – indescribable, inexcusable, horrific – but she was not there,” Daniel said.
In August 2017, a jury convicted Tyrrell of capital murder of a person under the age of 10 and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
During Langlais’ testimony on Thursday, prosecutor Kevin Boneberg asked under what circumstances she would have taken Adrian to the doctor or the hospital or even called 911.
Boneberg asked Langlais if she would you have taken him to the doctor when she started seeing the bruising around her son’s ears, which occurred early in Langlais’ relationship with Tyrell.
Boneberg asked if she would have called for medical help when she saw that Adrian could not hold his head upright.
He asked if Langlais would have taken her son to the hospital when she saw that he had two black eyes.
To all of these questions, Langlais said that she knew that she had done the wrong things and that she made mistakes. She indicated that if faced with the same set of facts in the future, she would act differently.
“I knew I should have taken him to the doctor,” Langlais said. “I know I made mistakes.”
Kelly Meador, the Tarrant County assistant district attorney who helped prosecute the case, told the jury during her closing argument that for the entire time of her testimony, Langlais was selling them blindness and willful ignorance.
But Boneberg said that the only thing that mattered was that Langlais never took Adrian to the doctor and she never got him out of the house.
“A mother should protect their child constantly and with great vigilance,” Boneberg said about the verdict. “It is our hope that holding her accountable for this toddler’s violent death brings some justice and honor to Adrian’s short life.”