Onawa, Iowa, woman, 24 yr old Ashley Cameron pleads not guilty to drowning toddler/ Markis Dahms/ Ashley Found Guilty

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Normal Onawa, Iowa, woman, 24 yr old Ashley Cameron pleads not guilty to drowning toddler/ Markis Dahms/ Ashley Found Guilty

Post by mary.cole.144 on Tue May 15, 2012 1:38 pm



ONAWA, Iowa | An Onawa woman accused of drowning her 15-month-old son pleaded not guilty in the case on Monday.

Ashley Cameron, 24, is charged in Monona County District Court with first-degree murder and child endangerment.

She was arrested for the Feb. 11 death of Markis Dahms. Police said that Cameron held the toddler under a running faucet in the bathtub in their home until he drowned.

Cameron's trial is scheduled for July 31. She faces life in prison if found guilty.

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Normal Verdict Expected Within Two Months In Mother's Murder Trial

Post by raine1953 on Wed May 22, 2013 1:02 am

A judge begins considering a verdict in the Ashley Cameron trial on Monday. The Onawa, Iowa woman is accused of first-degree murder and child endangerment in the drowning of her 15-month-old son Markis Dahms last year.

The 25-year-old Cameron took the stand Friday saying it was an accident, that the boy drowned in the bathtub when she grabbed a change of clothes in another room.

The judge plans to render a verdict in the next 60 days.
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Normal Judge finds Onawa, Iowa, mother guilty

Post by raine1953 on Wed May 22, 2013 1:10 am

May 18, 2013 12:45 pm

ONAWA, Iowa | There was no doubt that Ashley Cameron caused the death of her son.

But her actions the night of Feb. 11, 2012, did not rise to the level of murder, District Judge Jeffrey Neary said Friday.

Neary found Cameron guilty of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment causing the death of a child.

"Ashley Cameron has conceded that she was negligent and as such has committed child endangerment insomuch as she took certain actions which resulted in the death of her son Markis Dahms, but she never intended to cause his death," Neary wrote in his 19-page ruling, filed after he announced his verdict before Cameron in the courtroom.

Cameron, 25, had been charged with first-degree murder, a charge that carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. Instead, she faces a five-year sentence for manslaughter and 50 years for child endangerment. Sentencing is scheduled for June 28 in Monona County District Court.

"We were just hoping that murder in the first was off the table. We don't feel she deliberately killed her child," said Mary Agnich, the mother of a woman who is the longtime girlfriend of Cameron's father.

Neary's ruling made it clear that he, too, did not find that the state proved Cameron had intentionally killed her 15-month-old son. Cameron had waived her right to a jury trial, choosing instead to have Neary decide her case.

During a four-day trial last month, prosecutors laid out their case that after Markis vomited repeatedly in the bathtub, Cameron held his head under a running faucet five or six times until he stopped breathing. Cameron give investigators a written statement, introduced as evidence, that said the same.

Cameron testified at trial that she did not hold Markis under the faucet, but that she left the bathroom while he was in the tub and when she returned, he was lying face down in the water and was not breathing.

Neary said that during his deliberations, he reviewed audiotapes of Cameron's interviews with investigators. Cameron did describe to them that she ran water over Markis' head from the faucet, "but not to holding his head under the spigot as one might do to intentionally drown an infant," Neary wrote.

Neary said prosecutors failed to prove Cameron acted with malice aforethought, a key element to proving first- or second-degree murder. Neary said those interviews with police, plus the recording of a hysterical Cameron calling 911 were helpful in determining that malice had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Neary said he could not find Cameron guilty of attempted murder, because the state failed to prove Cameron acted with the specific intent to cause Markis' death. Neary also ruled out voluntary manslaughter because the charge requires the state to prove Cameron's actions "were done solely by reason of sudden, violent and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation."

"There is no factual basis to support this element or any suggestion of provocation ...," Neary wrote.

Instead, Neary said the facts in the case supported a finding of guilty for involuntary manslaughter: Cameron left Markis unattended in the bathtub, she acted "in a manner likely to cause death," and by leaving Markis unattended in the tub, she unintentionally caused his death.

Cameron's attorney, public defender Mike Williams, acknowledged at the beginning of the trial that Cameron was guilty of child endangerment. Neary said the facts presented at trial proved her guilty of that charge.

"Ashley Cameron's actions in leaving Markis unattended in the bathtub with water resulted in the death of Markis Dahms," Neary wrote.

"My assessment of the verdict would be that it seems to comport with what we believed," Williams said after the verdict was announced.

Monona County Attorney Ian McConeghey declined to comment on the verdict other than to say he disagreed with it. He said he would ask Neary to run Cameron's sentences consecutively for a total sentence of 55 years. Neither sentence requires that a minimum length of time be served before Cameron is eligible for parole.

"The board of parole can let her out whenever they see fit," McConeghey said.
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