'Nothing you do, judge, can heal...her:' Mom of South Bend child shot by sibling gets probation

·2 min read

SOUTH BEND — Eboni Hosea sat rigidly with her arms crossed in front of her Wednesday as she listened to her attorney explain to the judge the tragic circumstances surrounding the accidental shooting death of her 1-year-old son Javion Sexton.

Javion was accidentally shot and killed by his 4-year-old sibling while the older child was playing with a gun in June 2020, leading to prosecutors charging Hosea with nine counts of child neglect, including child neglect resulting in death, and drug possession.

The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit investigates in June after a child was shot in the 600 block of Leland Avenue in South Bend.
The St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit investigates in June after a child was shot in the 600 block of Leland Avenue in South Bend.

However, in a plea deal last month, Hosea admitted to just one count of child neglect as a Level 6 felony with both prosecutors and her lawyer acknowledging the 25-year-old was in an abusive relationship with Javion's father, Avion Sexton, and did not bear primary responsibility for Javion's death.

St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley agreed with the attorneys' assessment of the situation and sentenced Hosea to one year of probation on the child neglect count and an unrelated battery charge.

"It’s hard to imagine a more tragic example of someone who is a victim of domestic battery and the hold that that can have on your life," Hurley told Hosea in court. "I also don’t disagree that there’s some culpability on your part for the things that happened."

Hosea, who only sparingly looked up at Hurley during the hearing, did not speak. Her attorney, James Korpal, noted that even in the short time since Sexton was sentenced for his role in Javion's death, Hosea's mood has improved.

"Nothing you do, judge, can heal what has happened to her," Korpal said. "Eboni became the perfect example of a person who could not walk away from a relationship, from a person who is toxic to her."

Testimony from Sexton's trial and sentencing revealed he kept handguns in his house on Leland Avenue and did not secure them despite having young children in the home. Sexton was also convicted of dealing narcotics and left significant amounts of fentanyl out on a table, within reach of the children.

Javion was killed on June 18, 2020 when his 4-year-old brother was playing with a gun unsupervised and shot his younger sibling.

On Wednesday, Korpal said Hosea had gotten permission from Sexton to go get her nails done and was out of the house at the time of the shooting.

Javion died in the hospital later that afternoon.

In October of that year, a grand jury indicated Hosea and Sexton on multiple counts of child neglect resulting in death and drug possession. Sexton was convicted in April on all 13 of his counts and sentenced to 40 years in prison by Hurley earlier this month.

As part of her probation, Hurley ordered grief counseling for Hosea.

Email Marek Mazurek at mmazurek@sbtinfo.com. Follow him on Twitter: @marek_mazurek

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Mother of South Bend toddler killed by sibling sentenced to probation