Couple set for trial in baby’s death

JONESBORO — Jury selection is expected to begin Monday in the trial of a Riverdale couple charged with murder in the alleged Shaken Baby death of the woman’s 4-month-old son.

Nacole Shavon Cockrell, 29, and James Darrell Bartlett, 34, are charged with murder and other felonies in the death of Cockrell’s baby, James Darrell Cockrell. Police said the baby died Oct. 21, 2011, from injuries consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome.

According to the arrest warrant, when Cockrell discovered her son was not breathing Oct. 19, she refused to get him medical help and would not allow Bartlett to call 911. Bartlett, whom the police said was the baby’s stepfather, was arrested Oct. 26.

Both are being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail.

According to court records, Cockrell pleaded no contest as a First Offender to battery under the Family Violence Act 16 days before the baby’s death. She was sentenced to 12 months probation and 40 hours of community service, but was back in court Nov. 9, 2011, for allegedly violating that probation.

Georgia Department of Corrections records show Bartlett has been in and out of state prison five times since April 1999. He was released seven months before the baby’s death and was locked up again five months after his death for possession of a firearm by a First Offender, according to prison records.

The trial comes two weeks after a Jonesboro man was convicted of murder in Clayton County Superior Court in the beating death of his girlfriend’s toddler, Jadien Harvey, 2. Kemra Matthew is to be sentenced Friday and faces a mandatory minimum life in prison with the possibility of parole.

The Matthew case was prosecuted by Kathryn Powers and Travis Meyer of the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office. Powers and Meyer are on tap to present the state’s case against Cockrell and Bartlett.