One sentenced in child’s death

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The first of two individuals involved in a child abuse case that led to the death of five-year-old Alexander Robertson was sentenced to 10 years in the state penitentiary. 

Justin Cox was sentenced to a five-year active sentence for each of two convictions, child abuse and involuntary manslaughter, March 19 in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court. 

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Once released, Cox will be under an indefinite supervised probation. 

Isle of Wight Commonwealth’s Attorney Georgette Phillips said her office argued for a 20-year active sentence, 10 years on each conviction, but the court reduced that to 10 years on each charge, with five years suspended on each. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Evidence in the case revealed that Internet searches concerning how to make bruises go away, whether spanking was considered child abuse and if some people received pleasure from hurting children were found on Cox’s cell phone, according to Phillips.

On Monday, Judge James Hawks granted funds for an expert to explore the possibility that Robertson’s mother, Jaye Lynn Hadley, was under duress and was acting in self-defense with regards to her relationship with Cox and the death of her son. 

“Was her fears reasonable at the time, considering what she was confronted with,” said Hadley’s attorney, Patrick Bales. 

Isle of Wight County Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Edwards argued that such a finding could be a factor in sentencing but not in determining the facts of the case. 

Edwards said Hadley moved in with the man and continued to live with the man while her child was beaten and bruised — despite the ability to go live with her mother. 

The expert is expected to provide a written report to the court, where it will be determined what is admissible or not, according to Hawks. 

Hadley’s trial is scheduled for June 25 in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court. 

Hadley is charged with child abuse, serious injury and second degree murder. Her trial is still pending.

Paramedics were called to Robertson’s home on Yellow Hammer Road on Jan. 8, 2018 where the boy was found to be unresponsive. When the boy arrived at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, injuries were found that led to the criminal charges. He died days later at the hospital. {/mprestriction}