DALLAS - Three members of a Texas family were sentenced to prison last week in the brutal 2013 beating and stomping of a 13-year-old relative who authorities said was raped -- and impregnated -- by her own brother.
Sharon Jones, 47, of Dallas, and two of her children, Cedric Jones Jr., 29, and Cecila McDonald, 28, pleaded guilty for their part in the 2013 crime, which caused the girl to miscarry, The Dallas Morning News reported. The newspaper reported in 2016 that the victim and five siblings, including a younger sister forced to help hold her down during the beating, moved from California to Texas to live with Sharon Jones, their aunt, after their grandmother died.
“Most people would treat strangers better,” prosecutor Rachel Burris said during last week’s sentencing hearing, according to the newspaper. “Yet these people did it to someone they promised to love.
“They held her down. They forced her to lay there while people stomped her. It was savage.”
A judge sentenced Sharon Jones to 12 years in prison. Cedric Jones was sentenced to five years in prison and his sister was sentenced to serve seven years, according to the Morning News. The siblings and their mother each pleaded guilty to felony family violence aggravated assault.
A fourth suspect, Lonnell McDonald, was convicted in 2016 of aggravated assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the newspaper reported.
The beating, which the now-19-year-old victim reported in 2015, stemmed from a sexual assault case in which the girl’s 24-year-old brother was accused of raping her in 2012, when she was 13. The brother, who relocated to Dallas a year before his siblings, was ordered to not have contact with them, though it was not immediately clear why.
The brother’s name is being withheld to help shield the victim’s identity.
Testimony in Lonnell McDonald’s trial showed that, despite Sharon Jones promising to take in the siblings to keep them out of foster homes, the children were instead sent to live with Lonnell and Cecila McDonald. Their older brother was living at the McDonald home at the time, the Morning News reported.
It was there that the alleged sexual assault took place, according to testimony.
Sharon Jones is accused of telling the girl and her siblings to lie to Texas Child Protective Services caseworkers so authorities would not find out they were living in the same home as their brother.
The 13-year-old victim told authorities that she told Jones and Cecila McDonald about the sexual assault after it came out that their older brother had sexually abused McDonald’s own three young children. The women, who were reportedly worried that McDonald would lose custody of her children, never told authorities about the girl’s allegations.
The brother has since been found mentally incompetent to stand trial and his criminal charges remain in limbo, the Morning News said.
When the teen’s relatives learned that she was eight months pregnant, they tried forcing Plan B birth control pills and cinnamon tablets on her to induce a miscarriage, the Morning News reported. When that didn’t work, they held her down and took turns stomping on her abdomen.
Cecila McDonald screamed during the attack, “(Expletive), you ain’t about to get my kids taken away from me,” the newspaper said.
After beating her for hours, they left the girl in a bathtub, bleeding and drifting in and out of consciousness, as she gave birth to a stillborn baby, the Morning News reported. To combat her loss of blood, they fed her iron pills.
The victim told authorities they took her baby away before she got to see the child.
The girl’s younger sister tried to care for her afterward. The Morning News reported in 2016 that the younger girl, who was 12 during the attack, was granted immunity in the case in return for her testimony.
After the baby was born, Cecila McDonald put the infant’s body in a bucket. She, her brother and her mother then tried to burn the remains on a grill.
Sharon Jones subsequently paid her son $25 to get rid of the portion that did not burn. The Morning News said he hid the remains, which have never been found.
“To this day, we don’t know what happened to that baby,” Burris told jurors during Lonnell McDonald’s trial.