PEARL, Miss. (AP) — A 21-year-old Mississippi woman who repeatedly threw her infant daughter to the ground has been ordered to spend the rest of her life behind bars after pleading guilty to capital murder in the child’s death.
Rankin County Circuit Judge Steve Ratcliff on Monday sentenced Makaylia Jolley, of Pearl, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the May 14, 2022, death of 7-week-old Khalysie Jolley, WLBT-TV reported.
Jolley was in the courtroom for about 20 minutes at sentencing and said little more than “yes, sir” or “no, sir” when questioned by the judge, the station reported. Sentencing came just days after she agreed to enter a guilty plea.
Had the case gone forward, Madison-Rankin County District Attorney Bubba Bramlett said he would have sought the death penalty.
Bramlett said the plea brings the case to a close, adding there will be no appeals.
Authorities said the plea helped prevent Rankin County jurors, law enforcement, witnesses and family members from having to relive what they say was one of the most heinous crimes they had worked on.
“This was an innocent seven-week-old baby,” Assistant District Attorney Kathryn Newman said, adding the child was thrown to the pavement multiple times in the presence of witnesses, including the victim’s grandmother.
Authorities said the attack occurred on May 12, 2022. When officers arrived shortly after 2 p.m., Jolley had run into the woods.
She was eventually taken into custody and Pearl authorities transported the infant to Children’s of Mississippi in Jackson. The infant suffered extensive skull fractures, brain bleeding, abrasions, hemorrhages to her eyes, and other fractures. She died that May 14.
Authorities said Jolley was under the influence of drugs she had taken the morning of the day her child was fatally injured.
A grand jury indicted Jolley on a capital murder charge in November 2022.