Sean Michael Sowards
September 23, 2004 - June 13, 2007
A Grave Memorial
A doctor who testified at the trial of
who was accused of killing her son, Sean Michael Sowards, said that his
body showed signs he had been abused for his entire short life. The
that he had were compared to torture with his entire body having been
There were at least 36 bruises as well as cuts and abrasions all over
body. Sean was blind as a result of having been shaken or hit directly
on his head, his big toenails had been torn completely off and his
were red and swollen, he was also undernourished.
Also in the home was Sean's older
Angel showed no sign at all that she had been abused in any way.
Conklin and Sean's father, Michael Sowards also live in the home. In
home, blood was found in Sean's room, on the carpet, on the walls of
closet, the closet door and the sheet on his mattress. There were
clothes in the laundry and clothing that smelled of vomit in the washer.
When Sean was found, he was
unresponsive and laying
in his own vomit. At the age of two, he underwent brain surgery to
the pressure from the swelling taking place. It wouldn't do any good
two days later, Sean was dead.
Crystal and Michael both denied that
they had abused
Sean in any way and blamed his injuries on him being clumsy and even
so far as to say that his sister, Angel, was very aggressive towards
How could parents abuse a child and then try to pass the blame off on
a sibling? Simple, they are self absorbed monsters who care nothing
their children at all. They're trying to save their own butts!
"The whole time he spent here
in this short
pain filled life, his only problem, his only affliction,
was having a hateful, heartless
Sean's grandmother said that she had
abuse she had seen and was told that parents have a right to discipline
their children and it was none of her business, even when he said that
the age of four months old, Sean was being spanked his mother, for
She was told that unless she seriously injured him or killed him, there
would not be an investigation. If someone had paid attention to her,
would probably be alive today. Elizabeth Herd had some harsh, though
deserved words, for Crystal. Elizabeth is Sean's grandmother on his
side of the family. Saying that Crystal was a monster who hid Sean's
before she finally ended up killing him, she had strong words for
"Your greatest betrayal was to
Sean, this pure
innocent sweet and loving little soul who
completely loved, trusted and
you, his mother, to protect and love him. You
were his life, Crystal. His whole
everything and you hurt him"
Almost a year later, on April 24,
2008, Crystal was
convicted of first degree murder and first degree child abuse. Therese
Tobin, the chief trial attorney at Prosecutor Eric Smith's office, said
that Crystal had been worried about her sons trip to the hospital,
it was for all the wrong reasons. Therese told the jury that Crystal
more worried for herself because she didn't want her dirty, little
to get out, she also didn't want to have to talk to the police. Crystal
had a lot to be concerned about since Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz
that Sean died as a result of non-accidental blunt force trauma to his
little head on June 14, 2007.
Addressing the jury during her
Therese Tobin told of the life of Sean:
"Sean Sowards died before he
was 3 years old.
His life had been very brief and filled with pain.
He had more pain in those two
years and nine
months than many young adults and adults
have in their entire lives"
Therese used testimony from medical
and police officers who had all talked about the abuse give to Sean,
whatever reason, by his mother and father. Daniel Spitz talked about
in various stages of healing which had been given over a long period of
time. Those in juries included fractures, bruised, scrapes to Sean's
torso and extremities as well as the removal of his toenails. The cause
of death was once again identified as blunt force trauma which resulted
in the injury and bleeding all over his brain:
"Because of the brain injury,
there was profound
swelling of the brain. It's the brain's
response to the injury in this
what led to the death of this child. What
caused the damage was an impact,
to the child's head, which resulted in
some hemorrhaging that was unable
to be managed
even with extensive
Several doctors said that the
injuries he suffered
from were not at all consistent with a child who had fallen, or a bump
or even a force that a toddler would be capable of using on him. It was
also said that the visions problems Sean had were caused by
and Therese said that Sean had not developed according to a growth
of a doctor, due to his neglect. The vision problems cause Sean to have
to feel his way around the house:
"Sean's last week was spent
almost blind. He
would put his hand over his eye for some
comfort, for some assistance. He
was a 2-year-old
walking around the house. He was trying
to find his own way with this own
your child couldn't see, do you let him feel his way
around the house or do you get him
in a car,
or get him in an ambulance and get him to a
doctor? The reason Conklin didn't
is the dirty
little secret. Sean was abused"
Therese told the jury that the
questions before them
at that time had nothing to do with Sean's father, Michael. Michael had
supposedly rushed his son to the hospital after coming home from work
finding him laying in his own vomit:
"Michael Sowards failed his
son. He admitted
that to you. He will answer for that later"
Therese asked the jury to consider
all of the testimony
of Michael and Crystal who had testified in her own defense. Therese
said that Crystal had made up a story for the court in which she said
she was not responsible for Sean's death, that it was Michael who was
blame for his injuries. In court was the first time Crystal had ever
this story. Also pointed out were the differences in how Sean was
compared to his sister Angel:
"For some reason, Crystal
Conklin did not treat
her son the way she treated her daughter.
Why is that? I don't know. What we
the ramifications of those feelings. What we
know is that there was a bruised
Sean for whatever reason"
Michael remained charged with second
abuse in the death of his son. He testified against Crystal and his
was there to support him in the courtroom, they were clearly shaken by
the closing arguments of Therese Tobin.
Crystal gave birth to another child,
in the Macomb County Jail in July of 2007. At her sentencing hearing,
was crying and said very little before Judge John Foster sentenced her
to life in prison for the charge of felony murder. This sentence will
concurrently with a sentence of 15 years she received on the charge of
first degree child abuse. Crystal, who was 28 at the time, said:
"I am not going to give up
fighting this. I
am innocent. My daughters are still waiting for me.
I'm not going to give up"
To her comments Judge John Foster
"You may maintain your
innocence, but a jury
after listening to testimony found you are
not innocent. There are enough
signs and indications
of enormous abuse to the feet,
toes, eyes and other parts of the
who had a chance to observe him
should have been moved to take him
Defense Attorney Ronald A. Goldstein
this would be his last case and that there might be an appeal. Ronald
that the evidence against Crystal was circumstantial and that no one REALLY
knows what happened in their home that day:
"I'm disappointed in the
verdict. I thought
we presented a good defense. What else can I say?
She's going to appeal"
Michael Sowards had little to say
about his own charges
in this case, though he did say something about the verdict in
"I wanted justice for my son.
It's too bad
Michigan doesn't have the death penalty"
I wonder if he'll still feel that way
after his own
Michael Sowards plead no contest to
the charge of
second degree abuse, in June of 2008. He was convicted and sentenced to
an extremely RIDICULOUS short term of nine months in prison
five years of probation to follow that. Michael voluntarily gave up
of his other two daughters, saying he wanted them to have a better
Im' sorry here, but, if he did
nothing wrong, WHY
did he give up the custody of his two daughters who were placed in
care? IF he felt he had to give them up, why not give them to
mother? Something doesn't seem right in that. That's just my own
Sean Michael Sowards, 2, of Warren,
Wednesday, June 13, 2007, at St. John Hospital, Detroit. He was born
23, 2004 at Crittenton Hospital, Rochester.
Sean is survived by his parents,
Michael Sean Sowards
and Crystal Tamara Conklin; sister, Angelique Sowards; grandparents,
and Elizabeth Herd and Kathy Simms; and great-grandparents, Ann
Oniel and Rose Herd, Robert Lee Conklin and Shirley Switzer.
A funeral service will be held at 11
at Renaissance Unity Church, 11200 11 Mile Road, Warren. Burial will
place in Resurrection Cemetery, Clinton Township.
Visitation is 3-9 p.m. Wednesday at
Funeral Home, 40800 Hayes Road, Clinton Township. Additional visitation
is 10-11 a.m. Thursday at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to
the Sean Michael
Sowards Memorial Fund at any Flagstar Bank.
In January of 2009, Crystal was back
in court trying
to get a new trial claiming that her lawyer had ignored her requests to
bring in witnesses and use battered spouse syndrome as her defense.
was claiming ineffective counsel as the reason she deserved a new trial.
Crystal says that Ron Goldstein
failed to interview
witnesses who would have been able to back up her allegations that
Sowards had abused her physically. She also said she had witnesses who
could back her up on the allegations that Michael had abused Sean.
could supposedly back up claims that Michael's car WAS in the
during the time that Sean had gone unconscious. She claimed that
has stopped home for a short time at about 4:30 p.m. and he could have
Sean at that time:
"I had written to him,
Goldstein, many times
over and over as I remembered them"
Ron Goldstein said he has asked
Michael in cross
examination if he had used physical violence against Sean and Michael
denied it. Ron also said:
"I spoke with Miss Conklin a
number of times.
If she would've given me names of other
persons, I would have had my
interview these persons"
There were also claims, by her new
Katz, that Crystal had called the police on eight different occasions
domestic violence complaints. Ron said if that were true, he would have
received copies of the police reports. Crystal then said that she
tell the police about Michael's abuse toward her and her son because
was afraid of Michael:
"I was scared. He threatened
me. I lied to
police. I said he wasn't home. It was hell. I was scared day-to-day. I
couldn't go anywhere. I was trapped. I had problems communicating with
It's still there"
Elizabeth Herd was in court and later
"Everything she said on the
stand was a lie.
She's saying whatever she can to get out.
Everyone else is at fault. Michael
hurt Sean and never did hurt Sean"
Lawrence said that there were records
Sean suffered with Dermatitis:
"It could explain his condition
was not attributable
to my client"
I wish I could ask Lawrence what he
means by that.
Sean is dead, that is NOT a "condition" and it's NOT a
that can be attributed to a skin problem. Children don't go blind, they
don't get tons of bruises over their body, they don't bleed all over
rooms, they don't vomit and they don't die from Dermatitis. Lawrence
said that Ron could have prevented damaging testimony from Daniel
which clearly swayed the opinion of the jury.
Ron said that he had talked to Bader
Cassin, a pathologist,
trying to get him to testify for Crystal. After reviewing the case,
decided that he would not be able to provide positive testimony for
"He indicated to me he would
not be able to
assist in the matter"
The judge was to decide later, if
Crystal would get
a new trial date.
Today is June 15, 2014 and while
searching to see if Crystal got a new trial date, I was unable to find
out any new information.
occurred in the
state of Michigan
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