Defense filed for mother accused in child’s death
A Cape Coral woman accused in the death of her 3-year-old son may claim as a defense in her trial next month that she was mentally incapable of stopping her boyfriend from abusing the child and ultimately causing his death.
The attorney for Nicole Brewington filed a notice of intention this week to rely on battered-spouse syndrome as a defense at her trial beginning Jan. 5. Brewington is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child.
Brewington’s son, Zahid Jones Jr., was allegedly beaten by Kashon Scott over Memorial Day weekend 2007 at the couple’s Cape Coral home, and ultimately died of his injuries May 29.
Autopsy findings revealed Zahid had a ruptured bowel, a bruised liver and several external bruises among other injuries.
Scott was convicted of manslaughter and aggravated child abuse by a Lee County jury in September. He was sentenced to a combined 60 years in prison.
“Ms. Brewington was unable to understand and appreciate the nature of the threat posed to her child by her relationship with Kashon Scott, and thus unable to properly protect her child, based on her history as a battered child and as a battered woman,” said the notice, filed by Assistant Public Defender Karen Miller.
Miller could not be reached by telephone Thursday.
The symptomology of battered-spouse syndrome is similar to post traumatic stress disorder, sometimes seen in soldiers who experience trauma in war or those who witness a traumatic event. The syndrome can occur to men and women who are abused traumatically, said Dr. Laura Streyffeler, clinical director for Abuse Counseling & Treatment in Fort Myers.
“It’s a very horrific kind of normalized behavior for someone who has been through a very traumatic event,” Streyffeler said.
One of the primary differences between battered-spouse syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder, which is caused by another form of stressor, is that the trauma of battered-spouse syndrome is caused by someone the person loves and trusts, or previously had a loving relationship with, she said.
Two possible witnesses regarding the battered-spouse syndrome defense are listed on the notice, including Dr. Laura Hohnecker of the Psychological Alliance P.L. in Lauderhill, Fla., and Dr. Frederick Schaerf of Neuropsychiatric Associates in Fort Myers.