Florida Seeks Death Penalty for Couple Accused of Abusing, Killing 3-Year-Old Boy

Nance Jameson died on June 11 in 25-year-old Joshua Manns' care

Jameson Nance
Photo: West Melbourne Police Department

A Florida woman and her boyfriend facing first-degree murder charges for the June death of her 3-year-old son may now face the death penalty.

On Monday, State Attorney Phil Archer announced in a press release that his office had filed a motion of intent to seek the death penalty against Erica Dotson, 27, and 25-year-old Joshua Manns.

In July, a Brevard County grand jury indicted Dotson and Manns on first-degree murder charges for the June 11 death of Dotson's 3-year-old son, Nance Jameson, at their apartment in West Melbourne.

Erica Dotson and Joshua Manns
Erica Dotson and Joshua Manns. west Melbourne police department/ facebook

According to an affidavit, on the morning of his death, Nance was left in Manns' care by his mother while she went to work, WKMG reports. Dotson told police she had spoken to Manns throughout the day and at about 7 p.m. was told that her son was "not good" and that he had drowned.

As she drove home, Dotson called 911, records show, according to the affidavit. When the dispatcher made contact with Manns and tried to instruct him to perform CPR on the boy, he said that he was no longer in the area, the station reports.

"After a weeks-long investigation, West Melbourne Police discovered evidence that both Manns and Dotson physically abused the child, attempted to conceal the abuse, and neglected to seek immediate medical treatment for his injuries," the state attorney's press release states.

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In the notice, prosecutors described Nance's murder as "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel," according to the press release. A medical examiner ruled his death a homicide after an autopsy found the boy had suffered multiple inflicted injuries over time that ultimately resulted in death.

His injuries included a broken rib, a broken tooth, damage to his esophagus and multiple stab wounds to the head, however, no signs of drowning, according to WKMG. Investigators believe Dotson was aware of the alleged abuse her son endured but did nothing to protect him.

The couple remains behind bars at the Brevard County Jail with no bond. In addition to murder, they both face aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and child abuse charges.

Attorney information was not available Tuesday.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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