Babysitters Facing Life In Toddlers Death Get 35 Years

A Wilmington couple was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the 2018 murder of a 15-month-old Chosen Smith. Tameke Wright, 24, and Lavar Harris, 38, were babysitting the child in February 2018 when they took the child to the hospital saying he had fallen off of a futon.

The child died moments later and an examination showed extensive bruising and abusive head injuries, including a fractured skull. Wright and Harris pleaded guilty in January to Murder by Abuse First Degree.

A Superior Court judge sentenced them each to 35 years in prison, followed by 6 months of either home confinement or work release, then 18 months of probation. They will also spend every February 16th, the anniversary of the child’s death, in solitary confinement.

Deputy Attorneys General James Kriner and Diana Dunn prosecuted the case with the assistance of administrative assistants Chrissy Schenck and Monica Walker, paralegal Jayna Quillen and victim services specialist Bettina Jones. Detective Devon Jones of the Wilmington Police Homicide Unit was the chief investigating officer.

Update

A man and woman have pled guilty to Murder by Abuse or Neglect First Degree in the 2018 beating death of 15-month-old Chosen Smith.

Deputy Attorneys General Jim Kriner and Diana Dunn secured the pleas from Tameke Wright, 23 and Lavar Harris, 38, in Superior Court. The couple were babysitting the child in February 2018 when they drove the child to the hospital and reported that he had fallen off a futon. The child died minutes after arriving at the hospital.

Upon examination, it was discovered that the child had abrasions and bruises all over his body as well as abusive head injuries, including a fractured skull. The Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide as a result of blunt force trauma.

Detective Devon Jones of the Wilmington Police Department arrested Wright and Harris the following week. Both defendants face a sentence of 15 years to life in prison when sentenced in June. DOJ paralegal Jayna Quillen and victim services specialist Bettina Jones also participated in the prosecution.

Original Story

Wilmington – On Saturday, 17 February 2018 at approximately 4:45 am, Wilmington Police were summoned to the Wilmington Hospital in reference to a death of a 15-month-old child, according to police.

Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division responded and began a death investigation.

Officials said the Delaware State Medical Examiner’s office later determined the death to be a homicide caused by blunt force trauma.

Wilmington Police, Criminal Investigations Division, working in collaboration with the Division of Family Services and the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, discovered that the mother of the child had left the child in the care of TAMEKE WRIGHT, 22, and LAVAR HARRIS, 37, both from the 300 block of E. 5th Street, in Wilmington, according to police.

On February 23, 2018 warrants were signed for both individuals for MURDER BY ABUSE OR NEGLECT, 1ST DEGREE.

Both suspects were taken into custody by Wilmington Police Uniformed Services Division without incident.

TAMEKE WRIGHT and LAVAR HARRIS are each being held on a $100,000 cash bail.

About Staff Writer

First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

View all posts by Staff Writer →