SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (TCD) -- A mother and her partner were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison earlier this week for the torture and murder of her 5-year-old son.
According to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, Jessica Prater and her 5-year-old son Zachary moved in with Adam Caldwell in April 2016. Caldwell and Prater reportedly began to punish and abuse Zachary both psychologically and physically, and according to the District Attorney’s Office, the physical abuse progressively became "more frequent and more violent."
Prater called 911 on June 2, 2016, to report that Zachary "swallowed water in the bathtub and was not responsive," the District Attorney’s Office said.
Sacramento Metro Fire responded to the home and discovered Zachary in a bedroom. He was reportedly transported to the hospital. The District Attorney’s Office said he never regained consciousness and later succumbed to his injuries.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, an autopsy report revealed that Zachary’s cause of death was blunt-force injuries and water submersion.
A jury convicted Caldwell of second-degree murder and child assault causing death on Oct. 8, 2021, the Sheriff’s Office said. On November 4, 2021, a jury reportedly convicted Prater of first-degree murder by torture, child assault causing death, and child abuse with great bodily injury causing death.
Prater and Caldwell were each sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Monday, Dec. 13.