Alexis Marie Pounder
September 1, 2006 - January 9, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial

After viewing picture of the deceased body of Alexia Marie Pounder, Judge Douglas V. Van Dyk found them to be so graphic and he was so disturbed by what he said, that he order the pictures to be sealed in an enveloped adding that no one could open them until he approved it. After his order concerning the pictures, he also order the Department Of Human Services to take custody of four children who lived in the home of Donald Lee Cockrell and Michelle Nichole Smilth who were being accused of beating and starving this little Angel, to death. Another child in the home, Kara, the biological sister of Alexis, showed signs of having also been abused. This child was not placed with her biological mother, Heather Marie Pounder, because she had a history of drug abuse and her home was not a safe place for children. Donald is the biological father of the child known as Lexi as well as her sister, while the other three children in home belonged to Michelle and all had different fathers, Police were trying to locate the fathers.

In a statement, Deputy District Attorney Colleen Gilmarted said that what was found in the home should be considered a danger to all children aged five and under. In court, Donald and Michelle, who were being held without bond, each plead not guilty and asked that Lawyers being appointed to them.

This couple was living in a home owned by Michelle's parents, who lived upstairs in a separate part of the home while Michelle, Donald and the five children lived downstairs. A neighbor said that Michelle had been a sweet person growing up, she had played on the softball team and he had cheered her on, he couldn't make sense of what happened:

"It just doesn't make sense to me, knowing her parents. I still can't believe it, especially
 the malnutrition"

Larry Ulrich

Larry said that he had often heard the children outside having a good time, playing on their swing set, in their play house and on their jungle gym. Most of the neighbors felt the same way as he did, they were shocked. Donald and Michelle were said to have no prior records and had never had any trouble with DHS in the past. Michelle posted a message to her Facebook account saying : "r.i.p. alexia marie my angle i miss you such much" then a few days later she posted a message: "i love you baby girl and i", that was the end of the message.

in 2012, Michelle Nicole Smith plead guilty to murder, as part of a plea deal. Michelle was facing 30 years in prison and agreed to testify against Donald in court. In January of 2013, Donald Lee Cockrell, who was 30 years old at the time, was on trial after pleading not guilty to aggravated murder, murder by abuse and criminal mistreatment. Donald claimed when he woke up that morning, his daughter was just dead and he didn't know why.

Lexi weighed only 21 pounds when paramedics found her body inside the filthy home. Lexi had trouble with potty training and was often punished for having accidents. When the family would go out for dinner, Lexi would not be able to eat and she would be forced to run as punishment. Lexi was also made to sleep on the floor and at times had to sleep in a space between the wall and the couch so she couldn't move. Lexi and Kara would look around on the floor, which was said to be littered with garbage, for food. Investigators were horrified, saying it was the worst case of abuse they had ever seen.

Jurors were shown the previously sealed pictures of the bruised and battered body of this precious little Angel, they compared them to picture of her when she was happy and smiling. This trial was expected to last six weeks and Defense Attorney Jenny Cooke said that Lexi had not been killed by being abused, that she had Pneumonia and that the bruises on her body were from falling while playing, typical childhood bruises, she also said that Donald had not been aware that Lexi had been losing weight, that it wasn't obvious to him. Jenny Cooke said that, in fact, that only evidence at all that Donald had ever hit Lexi, had come from na unreliable witness who was said to be addicted to painkiller and had made a plea deal to avoid the death penalty for herself, that witness of course, was Michelle.

Heather Pounder said that her two daughters were sent to stay with their father in October of 2009 and since that time, Donald had rarely let her see her children and that it had been almost a month since she had seen them:

"There's really no words to explain what it's like for me. I try to find the words, I can't,
my worst nightmare"

Michelle admitted that she had caused some of the injuries that were on Lexi's body when she was found in her pink pajamas, lying on her back with bruises all over her body and her body showing signs of malnutrition. Lexi's eyes were completely red because her her eyes had bust and an autopsy showed that she had been a victim of battered child syndrome with her cause of death being Pneumonia and dehydration, he death was ruled a homicide. Michelle said in court that Donald had been responsible for many of the bruises, scrapes and injuries that Lexi had suffered through. Defense Lawyers said that Michelle was responsible alone for the death of Lexi:

"She's very sophisticated at covering her tracks. All the evidence is Michelle did it"
Robert L. Huggins Jr.

Robert said that Donald had trusted Michelle to take care of his daughters and that she had failed him. The Prosecutor, Christine Landers, said that Donald was very good at blaming everyone other them himself, so far he had blamed Michelle, Doctors who gave Michelle pain medications, one of the other children in the home and he even had the nerve to blame Lexi, saying that she had an eating disorder:

"His disregard for his child as she deteriorated was reckless and indefensible"

Michelle testified that she and Donald had met in 2008 and they had two children each, from previous relationships, they would eventually had one child together. Days before her death. Lexi had been having diarrhea and dry heaves, but at  that point in their relationship, she had decided to leave Donald and she stopped taking care of his children as well as their apartment which became more and more filthy as time went on. Michelle said that all she cared about was getting more pain killers and that while Lexi was losing weight, being slapped and spanked, she just didn't care.

Christine Landers said that Donald should have taken Lexi to the doctor and she would still be alive:

"It was the last time he failed his daughter"

Christine said that Donald could not claimed he didn't see what was happening to Lexi since he picked up both of his children and would have noticed that his nine month old daughter, who weighed 19 pounds, was only one pound lighter than Lexi.

In April of 2013, a jury found Donald guilty and he was facing 25 years to life in prison. Donald escaped the death penalty when he was not found guilty of aggravated murder, but instead of murder by abuse and criminal mistreatment. Donald has not testified at all.

Donald was sentenced to life in prison and Michelle was sentenced to 30 years. Kara went to live with her biological mother.

One of the Jurors was touched enough by the story of Lexi and Kara that he wanted to do something about it:

"My mindset changed pretty quick after learning the nature of the case. I though, this involves a
small child and grisly things that happened, abuse, torture. That's when my passion to help
kicked in"
Josh Henle

After Donald was sentenced. Josh was out running one day and he came up with an idea to help Lexi and Kara, he was going to do a run for them.  Josh wanted to run and get people to sponsor him and set up a fund to pay for Kara's college fun. Josh had to go through some red tape, but he stuck to his plan and began the job of getting sponsors:

"It was really inspiring. And some of the people didn't have much money to be giving. It was like
love, you can't force it, but when it happens, you see these great actions that naturally flow out of it"


Alexis Marie Pounder was born September 1, 2006 in Hillsboro, Oregon. She passed away January 9, 2010 in Sandy, Oregon. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Death occurred in the state of Oregon
This page was created on July 20, 2014

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