Defiant ex-boyfriend gets 22 years in boy’s death

The mother of 20-month-old Asiah Maxam spoke Monday morning of the loss she and her young family sti

The mother of 20-month-old Asiah Maxam spoke Monday morning of the loss she and her young family still feel after Asiah’s killing last year.

“I’m sorry that I trusted someone with my children,” Jamie Darrel said at the sentencing of John J. Batease, her one-time boyfriend and the man who admitted to killing young Asiah in a fit of rage in June 2011. “I pay the ultimate price every day living without my handsome little boy.”

“I mostly have to apologize to my Asiah,” Darrel continued, reading from a prepared statement, “because I was not there to protect and keep him safe from this horrible creature that did this to him.”

A short time later, she added, “I feel that 22 years is not enough for what happened.”

Batease was sentenced Monday to a total of 22 years in state prison after admitting this past June that he killed Asiah.

Batease’s admission came during an emotional plea hearing where he first only gave a partial truth of what happened, then gave the broader truth after being pressed by Judge Michael Coccoma.

Batease, 33, intentionally failed to catch the boy after throwing him in the air, then forcefully threw the boy against a plastic playpen twice. As to why, he could only say then that he was frustrated with his own life.

At the conclusion of that plea hearing, Batease was in tears. Monday morning, though, any trace of remorse from Batease was gone.

He used his statement to the court to make accusations against others. After a prosecution objection, Coccoma stepped in, calling Batease’s statement inappropriate. The judge then again asked if Batease wished to make a statement on his sentencing.

Batease responded he did not.

During sentencing, Coccoma said no sentence the court could impose would bring Asiah back.

“At least,” Coccoma said, “I can remove you from this community and from society in general, so that your violent ways cannot be repeated against some other helpless individual.”

At least two of Asiah’s siblings would have testified had Batease taken his case to trial, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said not forcing the children to testify and giving the family finality were part of the reason behind their plea offer.

The children did not see the attack but heard portions of it, prosecutors have said. The case was largely circumstantial, built upon a pathology report and the fact that Batease was the only adult in the house. Asiah was killed June 19, 2011, at his family’s Hattie Street home.

The case was prosecuted by attorneys Tracey Brunecz and Christina Tremante-Pelham. Batease was represented by attorney Kent Gebert.

Attending Monday morning’s sentencing were Darrel, Asiah’s father, James Maxam, and family and friends. Asiah’s young siblings who were in the home when Asiah was killed were also at the sentencing.

During the proceedings, Asiah’s father was too distraught to read his own statement. Instead, he had Darrel read it.

James Maxam wrote of his love for his son and that no amount of time would make up for his loss.

“Even though you took him from us, we will always remember the joy he brought to us,” Maxam wrote.

Family and friends recalled that Asiah was a happy child, one who loved it when a family friend carried him around the house in a laundry basket.

Darrel brought a picture of her son to court, which showed a smiling little boy. At the top of the photo were the words, “In loving memory of.” Darrel told of how she and her older children remain in grief counseling. They keep Asiah’s memory alive each day through simply talking about him.

She called the day Asiah came into the world one of the best days of her life. “The smiles and joy he brought to my children and my life is unexplainable,” she read. “I got to go back and think about the good times we had together. For the short time he was here, there are so many memories we made.”

She added later in her statement, “Life now for us is just not the same and it never will be.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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