Killer mum’s bombshell confession
The mother of a baby boy who was found dead in a well with his body wrapped in layers of plastic and sealed with duct tape has made an astonishing confession to killing him during a heated exchange in court.
Jessica and Daniel Groves testified Friday local time at trial in Ohio, US, where they both stood accused of murdering their newborn son, Dylan, last year.
The pair faced charges of aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, child endangering, tampering with evidence, interference with custody, gross abuse of a corpse, and four counts of felonious assault.
Today, when asked if she had acted alone and killed her baby, Jessica responded: "Yes" before claiming his death was "an accident".
Prior to her shock confession, the couple had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Since her admission, Jessica Groves has been found guilty of aggravated murder and murder, facing up to life without parole.
Daniel Groves was found not guilty of aggravated murder but guilty of murder. He's facing 15 years to life with the option of parole.
The two-month-old baby's body was found in a crate at the bottom of a well not far from his parents' home in Otway, Ohio in June.
A forensic pathologist who performed Dylan's autopsy told the court he had sustained fractures to his skull, arms, ribs and leg. Dr Susan Brown said she found that some of the child's injuries were in the process of healing and others weren't at the time of his death, which indicated that at least three separate incidents had caused them.
According to Dr Brown, when she received the body, it was still secured in a crate that had been weighed down with 18 rocks and secured with three padlocks. She said Dylan had been wrapped in six layers of plastic sealed with duct tape and 12 zip ties. Authorities haven't disclosed a cause of death.
Jessica today told the court she caused the injuries to Dylan on March 27 and that he died on March 28.
Jessica told the jury she didn't remember how any of the child's injuries occurred but claimed to have concealed them from Daniel.
"I can't tell you something I can't remember," she said.
"When he died, a part of me died."
She said the couple kept his body at home for a few days then took him to the well.
Under cross examination, Jessica told the court she had wrapped Dylan's tiny body in plastic but also said she didn't "quite remember...how it happened".
"I can tell you (the plastic) didn't come from under the kitchen sink...(I got it) outside," she said.
The prosecutor, becoming increasingly frustrated with the defendant's vague answers, then asked her why she allegedly "murdered" her baby.
"I was scared (of) losing everything," a sobbing Jessica said without further explanation.
This is hard. A juror pulls tissues from her purse and passes around to crying fellow jurors. The photo of #BabyDylan’s autopsy shows his decomposed little body that had been underwater. It’s as horrible as you can imagine to look at. pic.twitter.com/1JqKyG5rdC— Julia Jenaé (@JuliaCourtTV) January 9, 2020
Tensions between the prosecutor and Jessica escalated as she was pressed for more details about precisely what happened, how and why.
"I have to live with this for the rest of my life, you have devoured my family," Jessica snapped.
"I have admitted to my guilt and I have to live without my children.
"I'm done talking to you."
#GrovesTrial - Cross-exam continues. Prosecutor still going hard.— Law & Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) January 10, 2020
How many times did you attack baby Dylan?
Jessica: I never attacked him
Pros: Then how many accidents did baby Dylan have?
Jessica: I don't remember
The judge called for a recess while defense attorney, Shawn Stratton, advised his client. The session later resumed and the jury deliberated.
Earlier, the court heard Dylan initially was removed from his parents' custody when he was born with drugs in his system but was later returned to his father.
"My client, Jessica Groves, was and still is a drug addict. There is no doubt about that fact. She and she alone caused the injuries to Dylan Groves which led to his death. She murdered Dylan Groves," Mr Stratton said during opening statements on Tuesday.
According to investigators, Daniel led police to Dylan's body after lying to them several times.
Daniel told the jury he found Dylan dead in his cot on March 28 just a few hours after a case worker visited the home. He said he believed he had died from natural causes and that Jessica told him he would likely be blamed for the baby's death because he had custody of him.
Mr Stratton said Daniel was "foolishly unaware" of his son's injuries when he discovered his body.
"Once he found him, panic and confusion set in and with that panic and confusion came poor decisions," Mr Stratton said.
"Did he help hide the body? Yes. Did he suggest the well? Yes, he knew where this well was. Did he help craft the coffin and preserve Dylan? Yes, he did but that's all he did."
The court heard Daniel allegedly learned of Jessica's drug use the day she went into labor with the child. Daniel admitted to struggling with a drug addiction himself in May of 2019 after his oldest son was removed from his care in late April.