The afternoon before toddler Zahid Jones Jr. died, his older sister told their mother the boy had been punched in the chest by Kashon Scott.
Jessica Nash, who is now 15 years old but was only 12 when her baby brother died, testified Tuesday for the prosecution in the opening day of her mother's trial.
Nicole Brewington is charged with manslaughter in the May 29, 2007, death of the 3-year-old in the family’s new house at 3525 NE 18th Ave., Cape Coral. She’s accused of not seeking medical treatment for her youngest son who died after being beaten by her boyfriend.
In September 2008, Scott, now 32, was found guilty of aggravated death of a child and aggravated child abuse. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison by Lee County Circuit Judge Mark Steinbeck, the same judge who is presiding over Brewington's case.
In opening statements, assistant public defender Karen Elizabeth Miller, said Brewington was not the one who inflicted the injuries on the boy and that she had no way of knowing he had been beaten.
“You will hear he was a child with a sick stomach, not unlike other times he’s been sick,” she said. The boy had stomach problems throughout his young life.
“You will hear that Zahid Jones Sr. was about to be released from prison and Kashon Scott was jealous,” Miller said.
“You will hear that Kashon Scott caused the injury that lead to the death,” she said. “You will hear that Kashon Scott was not in that house on Friday.”
However Brewington’s surviving children contradicted the attorney’s statement saying they remember Scott being at the home as early as the day of a child welfare worker’s visit.
Cynthia Morant, who was then employed by Lutheran Services of Florida, testified she saw the children on May 25, 2007, the Friday before Memorial Day. She checked Zahid for bruises on his torso and from mid-thigh down. He had none, except for a small bruise on his knee, typical, she said for a child his age.
The next time she saw Jones was May 29 at the emergency room where he had been taken by ambulance from his home. He was dead.
Assistant State Attorney Carrie Pollock said in opening statements Zahid was repeatedly throwing up the day before his death and Brewington did nothing to get him medical treatment. He wasn’t eating, he was running slower and even his brother and sister noticed he wasn’t doing “normal” things.
“All signs show that child was slowly dying,” Pollock told the jury. “Nicole Brewington’s lack of action and Nicole Brewington’s failure to (get medical treatment for Zahid) lead to Zahid Jones’ death.”
Nash said she, her mother and Jack Nash, another brother who was 10 at the time, took a walk the afternoon before the toddler’s death so she could tell her mother about the abuse. Scott and Zahid remained in the house.
“I was telling her how he would beat Zahid and stuff,” the girl testified.
Nash said the evening before Zahid’s death, he was having trouble breathing.
Everyone but Zahid was sitting in the living room and Scott was cooking.
“Shon wouldn’t let him sit with us,” Nash said. The boy made a noise, much like having problems breathing, and Scott got to him before Brewington. He put the boy on his chest until he went to sleep. “He wouldn’t let Mom have Zahid,” she said.
“I told Shon I think Zahid needs to go to the hospital because I think he’s going to die,” she said. He was turning purple and blue. The next morning he was dead.
The Nash children testified they were scared of Scott.
The three children had been returned to Brewington just days before the youngster’s death. They had been taken from her earlier by authorities because they were with Scott when he made a drug deal with an undercover officer.
The day before the boy died, Scott gave him several baths, Jones’ siblings testified.
Scott “put bleach in the water to try to make the marks go away,” Jessica Nash said.
Jack Nash testified he remembers Scott giving the boy several baths that day “because he had bruises on him. He didn’t want my mom to see the bruises.”
Both children testified they heard and saw Scott beating Jones.
Jack Nash said he saw Scott punch Zahid in the chest with his fist causing him to fall.
Zahid was hit for not eating.
“He tell him hurry up, eat and if you don’t you get a whooping,” Jack Nash testified.
He also said Zahid was running “funny” and their mother saw that.
Jessica Nash described a time during the Memorial Day weekend when Jones was hit by Scott.
“He told Zahid to get up and run to the door and he couldn’t run because he was hurting,” she said.
Scott would hit Zahid while he was trying to run. She testified both her brothers were punched by Scott.
Another time during that fateful weekend, Jones went into Jessica Nash’s bedroom during the night.
“I guess he was sick. His tummy was hurting.” She asked if he needed to go to the bathroom and he said: “No.” He lay down beside her and woke up again. He was on his way to his room, but Scott found him instead and told him to go into the bathroom.
She heard the sounds of a beating and something hitting the wall. All went quiet.
“He told Zahid to bend over again. ‘I ain’t done,’ she testified.
Testimony in the case is expected to continue at least through Thursday. Miller said Brewington plans to take the stand. Scott has been returned to Lee County Jail, but it’s unclear if he will testify in the case.