Mother charged with death of child bound over

By David Knopf/Richmond News

Rebecca Matthews, a Richmond woman charged with abuse that led to the death of her infant daughter, was bound over Tuesday to circuit court.

Matthews maintained her not-guilty plea and waived the right to a preliminary hearing. She appeared before Associate Circuit Judge James Thompson with Janeal Matheson, a public defender.

Matthews, 24, and her husband, Dennis Matthews, 25, face an A Felony charge of Abuse of a Child – Resulting in Death. If convicted, they would face a range of punishment from 10 years to life in prison.

The couple remain in custody in Ray County on $500,000 bond apiece.

Rebecca Matthews will be re-arraigned before Circuit Judge David Miller at 9 a.m. Dec. 12.

Aphril Diane Berniece Matthews, the Matthewses’ daughter, was born three weeks’ premature on July 29. She died on or around Aug. 18, according to court records, from blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen.

The child initially was thought to have died from natural causes, but a mandatory autopsy revealed injuries that included fractured ribs “in various states of healing”.


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