LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Lafayette mom has been found guilty of murder and more in the July 2021 beating death of her 3-year-old son.
Crystal Lynn Cox was found guilty on Thursday after a four-day jury trial. The jury deliberated for one and a half hours before announcing her guilty of murder, neglect resulting in death, aggravated battery resulting in death and battery on a person under 14 resulting in death.
According to court documents, police were originally called to Cox’s residence around 8:48 a.m. on July 5, 2021, on a report of a child who was not breathing. An EMT was said to have arrived and found 3-year-old Zeus Cox dead on a bedroom floor with bruising on his chest, stomach and other areas of his body.
Police interviewed both Cox and her boyfriend Jermaine Garnes Sr. about the bruises on the child. Cox reportedly told police at the time that Zeus had fallen on concrete, then later said he ran into a table. Garnes told police other stories, including claiming that Zeus fell off his bike.
Witnesses, however, told police that Garnes had struck the 3-year-old child with his fist, supposedly “taking his anger out” on the young child. According to the court documents, Cox even admitted to one witness that Garnes had killed her son and that she was going to get in trouble for covering it up.
Police later found a text message dated June 29 to Garnes from Cox in which she’d written that they needed to get Zeus a swim shirt so no one could see the bruises, according to court documents.
An autopsy revealed Zeus had died due to multiple blunt force trauma injuries to his abdomen. The injuries were found to be caused by “non-accidental trauma.” The blows to the young child had even caused his intestines to rupture, his ribs to fracture and caused internal bleeding, the doctor determined.
Cox and Garnes were both charged in August 2021 in connection to Zeus’s death. Both Garnes and Cox also had a criminal history with neglect and battery charges.
In 2010, Garnes was convicted of domestic battery. He had also been convicted in 2008 of assault and battery in Michigan.
Cox previously pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent in connection with a 2013 case in Clinton County, according to court records.
Cox’s sentencing is set for a later date. Murder carries a prison sentence between 45 and 65 years in Indiana.
Garnes, who faces the same charges as Cox, is set for trial in October.