BELFAST — After being arrested and charged earlier this week in connection with the death of her 3-year-old son, a Stockton Springs woman made her initial appearance June 25 at the Waldo Judicial Center.

Speaking in a quiet and deliberate tone, 35-year-old Jessica Trefethen, also known as Jessica Williams and Jessica Johnson, wearing a bright orange prison jumpsuit, told Superior Court Judge Robert Murray she understood the charges against her. If convicted, Trefethen could face a maximum of life in prison.

According to police, Trefethen, along with her mother, took her son, Maddox Williams, to Waldo County General Hospital Sunday, June 20, where the boy was pronounced dead. Maine State Police arrested Trefethen Wednesday, June 23, after a state medical examiner ruled the death a homicide caused by multiple blunt force trauma.

According to court documents Trefethen told hospital staff Maddox had been knocked down by a dog leash and kicked by his 8-year-year-old sister. The hospital reported the boy was not breathing and had no pulse when he arrived and they were unable to resuscitate him.

Jessica Trefethen speaks with her attorney, Jeff Toothaker, June 25 at the Waldo Judicial Center. Fran Gonzalez

An autopsy report by Maine Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Funte indicated the boy had bruises on his arms, legs, abdomen and head, along with deep tissue bruising on his buttocks. Funte said Maddox had injuries and bleeding in his brain, a fractured spine, internal bleeding in his abdomen and a ruptured bowel, and was missing three teeth, one of which appeared to have been knocked out within the past two days.

State Police interviewed Maddox’s father, Andrew Williams, who is currently incarcerated at Knox County Jail.  He said Trefethen had been Maddox’s primary caregiver since he was incarcerated. The last time he saw his son was April 10. At that time he noticed multiple bruises on Maddox’s face and a cut over one of his eyes. Police said Williams took photos of the injuries to document them so he would not be blamed.

Maddox Williams Source: GoFundMe

Police also interviewed Williams’ sister, Mikayla Williams, who said she was awarded temporary guardianship of Maddox after her brother’s arrest March 7. Mikayla said the Department of Health and Human Services returned Maddox to Trefethen March 8.

According to the police affidavit, when confronted with the severity of Maddox’s injuries, Trefethen said she had no idea how the boy had gotten injured. She said he had fallen from a trampoline several days before and added that “he bruises very easily.”

Funte stated in the court document the boy’s injuries were too severe to be caused by “kids playing, falling from a trampoline, or being knocked down by a puppy.”

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea told reporters after the hearing that depraved indifference murder, the charge against Trefethen, is defined as a disregard for the value of human life. She said the family has “obviously suffered a loss and will continue to feel the effects of that loss for a period of time.”

Zainea said no plea was taken at this initial appearance because the case will go through the grand jury process. Bail was set at $150,000 with the condition that Trefethen have no contact with children under the age of 14, along with several other people listed on record.

Murray set a status conference date of Oct. 28 at 1 p.m.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by Maddox’s family to help with expenses. To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/6b8f58-justiceformaddox.

Editor’s note: Earlier Republican Journal stories referred to Maddox Williams’ mother as Jessica Williams. She asked in court to be referred to as Jessica Trefethen.