We've posted on this case several time in the past week. Dad STEVEN NICHOLSON is now charged with felony murder in the scalding and drowning deaths of his two children.
We've previously heard that dad had "partial custody" of his 15-month-old daughter. We've also heard that he had "full custody" of his 13-month-old son, though an explanation as to why this was so has not been fully reported. Up until now, the mother hasn't even been named. We've heard vague statements about her living in northern Michigan and insinuating that she somehow gave up the baby by choice.
And now we find out that this is NOT TRUE.
Seems the mom LOST CUSTODY after she was accused by a judge of "kidnapping" her son! (How a natural mother can be accused of kidnapping her own baby defies logic, but who said logic had anything to do with it.) I suspect the mother's mumbled apology to her dead son and how she "tried" suggests that she knew that daddy was abusive, and had tried to rescue the child, but to no avail. Note that previous accounts on this case have mentioned police calls to the house as well as negative accounts about Daddy by the neighbors. We've also heard that dad has a history of drug/alcohol abuse and domestic violence.
Would love to know the name of the judge who prosecuted a mother for "kidnapping" a child from a man who "allegedly" murdered him only 5 months later! Would you like to stand up and take a bow, judge? In a better world than this one, you'd be standing trial too.
Last Updated: October 23. 2010 1:00AM
Family, friends mourn toddlers in bathtub deaths
Micki Steele / The Detroit News
Quiet and constant sobbing could be heard during the funeral service in Allen Park today for 15-month-old Ella Grace Stafford.
A service for Ella's 13-month-old half-brother Jonathon Sanderlin was held today in Cadillac. The toddlers drowned early Tuesday morning in their father's bathtub in his Allen Park apartment. Evidence shows the children were scalded with hot water, authorities said.
In the dimly lit chapel, mourners consoled one another as family members and friends paid tearful tributes to the little girl described as intelligent, curious, happy and unafraid to explore life. Stuffed animals rested beside her with Elmo of "Sesame Street" closest to her face in a casket flanked by bright pink flowers and handmade photo collages on easels.
Her mother, Tayler Stafford, was inconsolable.
"That was her first and only child," said family friend Cyndi Dowling. "Tayler's crying so much that I don't think she can cry anymore."
Steven Nicholson, 27, had partial custody of Ella and full custody of Jonathon. When police arrived at Nicholson's garden-level unit at Spring Valley Apartments, the children's bodies were lying on the floor in front of him.
Though he told authorities during his arraignment Friday that he had fallen asleep the night of the incident, some believe otherwise.
"I don't think it was an accident," said Kimberly Whitley, a friend of Ella's maternal grandmother Windy Moritz.
"Steve treated Little Cash (Jonathon) like he was a responsibility, not a son," she said. "And if it were one baby, it might be plausible that it was an accident, but not two babies."
Several of Nicholson's family members were in court Friday at his arraignment. One woman cried out, "We know you didn't do it."
In Cadillac, Jonathon's body was surrounded by family and friends still trying to wrap their heads around the tragedy.
Acknowledging the injustice of the death, the Rev. Steven LaLone said, "We can't deal with the sin of another man's heart. But as you look for answers, and as some of you seek justice, also remember to seek the Lord."
The boy's casket was surrounded by stuffed animals, toys, books, photos of the smiling baby, and a card hand made by Jonathon's sister, Sydney McGee.
Prior to the service at the funeral home, Jonathon's mother, Sarah McGee, wept as she leaned over the casket and told her son "I love you. I'm so sorry. I tried."
McGee lost custody of her son in May to Nicholson after a judge accused McGee of kidnapping Jonathon, McGee has said.
Nicholson faces six felony charges including two felony murder counts, two first-degree murder counts and two first-degree child abuse counts. The murder charges are punishable by up to life in prison without parole. The child-abuse counts carry penalties of up to 15 years.
He has been in police custody since the drowning incident and will remain in Wayne County Jail pending a Nov. 1 preliminary examination of evidence in the case.
Nicole Hornbaker Hamner of the Cadillac News contributed.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20101023/METRO/10230385/1409/METRO/Family--friends-mourn-toddlers-in-bathtub-deaths#ixzz13P4Giphn