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SC mom gets 30 years in prison in death of disabled daughter found in a dresser drawer

A Rock Hill woman will serve a maximum of 30 years in a South Carolina prison after being convicted in the death her disabled daughter who was found dead in a dresser drawer.

A York County jury on Tuesday found Jackleen Elizabeth “Jackie” Mullen, 26, guilty of homicide by child abuse and aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse. She was found guilty of killing India Heavenly Lacey Martin, 4, her disabled and special needs child who could not talk or walk without help and needed a feeding tube. India was found dead in a dresser drawer in her mother’s bedroom in late May 2020.

Mullen told police in 2020 the child was with relatives in North Carolina before Rock Hill Police Department and law enforcement officers found the dead child in the drawer, police testified during the trial.

Mullen showed no emotion in court as the guilty verdicts were read. She did not speak in court before visiting Judge Eugene Griffith handed down the 30-year sentence. She must serve 85% of the sentence, but will get credit for the three-plus years in jail awaiting trail. That means she won’t be eligible for release until she serves at least 22 years, said prosecutor John Anthony.

The Herald was the only media organization in court for the jury verdict.

Mullen faced a minimum of 20 years in prison for the convictions.

The trial started in late October, and she was found not guilty of a separate charge of murder.

Prior criminal convictions

Anthony, deputy solicitor of the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, said in court after the verdict Mullen had a 2017 conviction for child neglect for cocaine use during her pregnancy with India.

In May 2020, Mullen was convicted of forgery — the same day India died, according to Anthony, the prosecutor. Police and prosecutors said Mullen did not tell law enforcement the truth about her daughter’s whereabouts before the dead child was found in the dresser.

“While her child was dead in her house, Ms. Mullen came down here to the Moss Justice Center and pleaded guilty to that forgery,” Anthony said.

The discovery of the body came after a call to police to investigate India’s whereabouts in 2020.

Anthony,who prosecuted the case with Senior Assistant SolicitorErin Joyner, said the sentence for the homicide by child abuse convictions should be at least 40 years in prison.

Defense says Mullen had traumatic life

Luke Shealey and Brian Shealey, twin brothers from Columbia, were the defense lawyers for Mullen. Luke Shealey said before sentencing Mullen didn’t go to police or get medical attention for India, but that Mullen had a traumatic young life.

The defense argued during the trial that Mullen was not guilty of the death.

Luke Shealey asked the judge to consider sentencing Mullen to 20 years — the lowest sentence allowed under the law for the homicide by child abuse conviction.

Mullen’s boyfriend at the time of the incident in 2020, Audrevious Williams, is also charged in the case with homicide by child abuse and aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse, according to York County court records. His charges remain pending, prosecutors said.

Williams was not on trial this week and is not India Martin’s father. Williams testified earlier during Mullen’s trial.