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Clayton parents indicted in separate cruelty cases

By Michael Davis

mdavis@news-daily.com

A Clayton County grand jury has indicted a Hampton man who, authorities allege, beat his 17-month-old son so severely the child was put on life support, and ultimately died.

In a separate case, a Morrow woman has been indicted on aggravated battery and cruelty-to-children charges after her 10-month-old son was taken to a hospital with injuries that, doctors reportedly said, were the result of trauma and shaking.

Ja'Mall Decarlos Mathis, 19, was indicted Wednesday on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, cruelty to children and battery, in the September, 2009 death of his son, Jamari Jones.

In an application for a warrant for Mathis' arrest, Clayton County police said they were called to a home on Iron Gate Boulevard in Jonesboro on Sept. 17, after the Clayton County Fire Department took the child to Southern Regional Medical Center.

Clayton County Police Detective Michael Lowe wrote in the application that he went to Southern Regional and spoke with a doctor who told him that Mathis reported that the child fell off a bed and struck his head. The child was later taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where doctors told authorities the child had sustained "what appeared to be several blunt force blows to his head which resulted in a massive skull fracture," Lowe wrote.

Jones was placed on life support. A test early the next morning showed he had no brain activity, Lowe wrote, and he was taken off life support and pronounced dead a few minutes later.

Lowe wrote that he spoke with all of the friends and family members who were with Jones in the 24-hour period prior to the fire department being called, and determined that Mathis was the only person alone with him at the home. An arrest warrant alleges that Mathis beat the boy with "a blunt object and/or his hands."

Mathis was being held in the Clayton County Jail on Friday.

In the second case, Marissa Marie Adkins, 23, faces a seven-count indictment -- also handed down this week -- on charges of aggravated battery, cruelty to children in the first degree, and contributing to the deprivation of a minor.

According to a warrant application, the child's father took the boy to a doctor Aug. 14, 2008, when he and others noticed unusual behavior after receiving the child from Adkins.

"During a post-polygraph interview, the offender did admit to running into a dresser while holding this child," a Clayton County Police official wrote in the application. "This incident caused her to stumble a little. She agreed that it was possible the child's head struck the dresser. The injuries would be consistent with the child having been shaken and then slammed into an object."

Authorities also stated in the application that the child was discovered to have healing rib fractures and that he was put on a feeding tube for nine months. The application, filed in June 2009, states that the child, at the time, was wearing a leg brace to flatten out his foot and assist with standing "because the injury to his brain is similar to a stroke."

Online court records indicate an order for bond for Adkins was entered in July. A Clayton County Jail official said she was not being held there Friday.

Online court records did not list an attorney in her case, and no working phone number could be found at which to reach her.