Melynie Curtis has plead no contest to the murder of her five year old stepson’s murder. According to court documents Melynie Curtis would strangle the five year old boy. When doctors were performing the autopsy on the child they found a series of injuries that showed that the little boy had been abused for sometime. By pleading no contest Melynie Curtis, who is from Sante Fe New Mexico, would receive a prison sentence of thirty years in which she will have to serve twenty five years in prison.
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A Santa Fe woman has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars for the strangulation death of her 5-year-old stepson. Melynie Curtis pleaded no contest Tuesday to second-degree murder and child abuse.
After the boy’s death in September of 2018, doctors also found a pattern of bruises, a broken nose, and injuries to his genitals indicating ongoing abuse. Investigators say the boy had clearly been tortured.
Curtis has two children of her own, one of which she gave birth to just weeks before her stepson’s murder. Under the plea deal, Curtis will serve 25 of the 30 years she faced.
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More than three years after she was accused of fatally strangling her 5-year-old stepson, Melynie Curtis pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in great bodily harm.
Her plea agreement with prosecutors in the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office calls for her to serve a 25-year prison sentence for Jayden Curtis’ death. In exchange for her plea, the remaining charges against her in a nine-count amended indictment were dismissed.
The murder and child abuse charges are classified as serious violent offenses, so Melynie Tyalan Curtis will be required to serve at least 85 percent of her sentence and won’t be eligible to accrue day-for-day credits for good behavior to reduce her prison time beyond 15 percent.
Jayden’s biological mother, Cristina Cowboy, sobbed on the witness stand Tuesday as she testified about the day she gave birth to the boy and the effect his death has had on her.
“As a mother, we are supposed to protect our children from bad people and bad things,” she said, her voice choked with tears. “As a mother, I will never heal from this. I am emotionally, mentally and physically damaged.”
“This case is a tragedy on so many levels, I don’t know that I can even address them all,” state District Judge T. Glenn Ellington said before remanding Curtis — who had been on house arrest while awaiting trial — into police custody.
“This abuse is multigenerational,” the judge said, noting he’d come to know her family history over the years.
“Ms. Curtis herself had been abused as a child and became a mother very young and had some difficulties with that,” Ellington said.
“I don’t pretend to understand the underlying causes or the solutions,” the judge said. “All that is before me is a criminal case that has its own built-in resolution.”
But, Ellington continued, “we know a few things, and that is that child abuse of this nature, unfortunately, has a bad habit of repeating itself generation to generation unless there is intervention … to keep the pattern from repeating.”
Curtis was arrested in September 2018 after medical personnel told police officers her story that Jayden had accidentally drowned in a tub was inconsistent with his injuries.
The boy’s hair and clothes were dry when paramedics responded to her 911 call, according to a Santa Fe Police Department report, and he had no water in his lungs. Curtis had said water was coming from his nose and mouth when she pulled him out of the tub.
The report said Curtis — who had her first baby at 14 and had just given birth to her third child weeks before the boy’s death — later told investigators she had choked Jayden, her husband’s son from another relationship, but hadn’t meant to do it “that hard.”
She was at home caring for Jayden, her newborn and her 19-month-old son when the incident occurred, documents said, while her 6-year-old son from a previous relationship was with his maternal grandmother.
Deputy District Attorney Haley Murphy said Tuesday an investigation revealed Curtis had tortured the boy before strangling him, including striking him all over his body with an object and injuring his genitals.
Emergency responders who were dispatched to the family’s home were able to revive Jayden temporarily, reports said, and he was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center before being airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. His parents, Royce Curtis and Cowboy, took him off life support a few days later, after hospital staff declared him brain dead.
Melynie Curtis, 23, sat silently during the hearing, speaking only when Ellington asked her direct questions about whether she understood her rights and the consequences of the plea agreement.
Her defense team — led by attorney Todd Farkas — had approached her case from several angles.
Farkas first raised concerns about whether she was competent to stand trial. After she was found competent, he challenged the validity of her indictment, saying prosecutors had violated some rules of the grand jury process.
He didn’t put on a presentation or call any witnesses during her hearing Tuesday.
Ellington granted one request from Farkas; the judge allowed Curtis to remove her jewelry so it could be given to her family before she was taken into custody.