Just one week after co-defendant Monte Ashcraft was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Johnetta Salmon, age 23, of Mexico, Mo. learned of her fate at sentencing this past Monday.
Salmon received a three-year sentence in prison Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree from an Audrain County jury and Judge Wesley C. Dalton executed that sentence subject to the 120-day shock incarceration program in the Department of Corrections.
This means Salmon, if she complies with the terms of the in-prison program, could be released to probation at the end of the program.
She could still serve the three-year sentence if she violates the conditions of her probation during the whole five years.
The jury recommended the three-year sentence after finding Salmon guilty after a two-day jury trial June 22 and June 23.
Judge Dalton retains jurisdiction over Salmon’s case depending on her progress in the Department of Corrections.
Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Rehmer tried the case to an Audrain County jury of nine women and three men.
The jury found that Salmon (and, in a prior trial, Monte Ashcraft, the child’s father) abused a 3-month-old baby by failing to feed her child, resulting in the baby boy being underweight and malnourished.
An Audrain County jury convicted Ashcraft in May and Ashcraft was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“Johnetta Salmon was supposed to protect and nurture this helpless child, and she failed to do that,” Shellabarger said. “Johnetta Salmon failed to feed the baby an adequate amount of formula – an average of three bottles a day, if that — during the first three months of his life, crucial to development. Ashcraft and Salmon lied to their pediatrician, and by three months of age, he was seriously malnourished. Ashcraft broke the baby’s arm by picking him up by the arm, and the two failed to seek medical treatment for the baby’s injuries, repeatedly injuring and re-injuring the baby over a three-day period. The baby’s ribs were also broken in a pattern consistent with being squeezed with a lot of force. Ashcraft and Salmon looked to blame others for their actions and took no responsibility, always looking for someone or something to blame for their abusive, painful actions, which caused this baby to suffer excruciating pain from broken ribs and broken forearm – and unable to protect himself due to severe malnourishment. The jury’s sentence sends a clear message has been sent to abusers: we will find you, we will thoroughly investigate your case, and you will be prosecuted fully, fairly and without hesitation, and when your case is done, you’re going to prison for hurting a child. Fortunately, this child is now in a safe home with a loving, caring family and is protected from these two abusers. The multidisciplinary team, a cooperative approach to working child abuse and neglect cases yields better results for victims. This case brought together the Mexico Public Safety Department, Audrain County Children’s Division, Missouri State Technical Assistance Team from the Department of Health and Senior Services, University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Audrain, local pediatricians, and my office to provide a clear, consistent and thorough investigation and prosecution. The team concept of experience, knowledge and sharing that allowed justice to prevail for this family. I particularly wish to recognize Detective S.J. Thompson of Mexico Public Safety for his exceptional dedication, dogged pursuit of the truth and discovery of evidence vital to the jury’s decision, and professionalism throughout this challenging case.”