DALLAS - The father charged in the death of his 3-year-old adoptive daughter has been sentenced to life in prison.
After three days of testimony, it took jurors about three hours to decide on the maximum life sentence for Wesley Mathews. He showed little emotion during the trial, and he showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
Mathews was initially charged with capital murder for the death of his adopted, special needs daughter, Sherin, in 2017. He avoided a possible death sentence by pleading guilty to injury to a child by omission causing serious bodily injury. He will be eligible for parole after 30 years.
During the trial, Mathews took the stand in his own defense and said Sherin died after choking on milk in their Richardson home.
He testified that he patted her back and tried to give her CPR but admitted he never woke up his wife, who is a registered nurse. He also didn’t call 911 for help and instead put Sherin’s body in a plastic bag, loaded her in the back of his car with some trash and left her body in a culvert.
Prosecutors accused Mathews of treated her body like trash.
“Is this the exact type of bag you put Sherin in?” asked Jason Fine, a Dallas County prosecutor.
“Yes,” Mathews answered.
“What do you call this?” the prosecutor asked.
“It’s a blue bag,” Mathews said.
“This is a blue bag? What do you put in it?” the prosecutor said, sounding frustrated. “What do you put in this bag generally besides your daughter?”
“I never used it before,” Mathews replied.
Things got tense for a moment Wednesday as the prosecutor and Mathews argued over several of Sherin’s prior injuries. Doctors testified that she suffered five broken bones after she was adopted. Mathews argued it was not true.
They also discussed statements Mathews made about being in the culvert with Sherin’s body. He said he sat there for a while hoping a snake would bite and kill him.
The prosecutor asked Mathews if he wanted to just accept a life sentence to be fair.
“If that’s what the jury wants to give me, I’m more than happy to take it,” Mathews said.
The prosecutor then gave Mathews one final chance to tell people what happened to Sherin.
“I already stated what happened to Sherin,” he replied.
Before resting, the defense gave Mathews the chance to say what he could have done differently. He said he thinks performing CPR on Sherin was the right step but regrets that he was just too tired and there was no one around to help. He said he should have gone to seek help.
Mathews’ wife, Sini, showed up in court to support him, but she too showed no emotion and gave no comment as she quickly left the courthouse.
“Mr. Mathews is obviously saddened by the verdict like anybody would be,” said Rafael De La Garza, Mathews’ attorney. “But he respects the jury’s decision, and he’s gonna weigh out his options. We haven’t really discussed those yet.”
“Unfortunately, a lot of these times, you’re the only one that’s really advocating for the child. That’s, in some ways, how we felt,” said Fine. “There wasn’t anyone to speak on Sherin’s behalf outside of her therapist that really knew her.
After the trial, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot explained why Mathews wasn’t tried for capital murder. He said the facts of the case simply did not support the capital murder indictment that occurred under the previous administration.
The DA said other the other charges Mathews faced will be dismissed, and he does not anticipate bringing additional charges against Sini. She was arrested for child abandonment but the charge was later dropped due to lack of evidence.