August 1998 - July 19,
A Grave Memorial
Jackson, who was 29 years old at the time, was trusted to take care of
at least eight foster
That trust would be shattered when she would end up killing
one of those children. Many of the children that Cynthia was trusted to
take care of, were found to be
battered and starved, malnourished and having broken bones. One of the
children in her care died from injuries
given to him by Cynthia and it was reported that she had tortured him
Andrew was found to have
injuries that included a fractured rib,
punctured stomach wall as well as swelling in his brain and the county
Pathologist said that he had died from the combination of these
injuries which is called fatal child abuse syndrome.
In December of 2003,
Cynthia was found guilty of murder for what
she did to Andrew and guilty of endangering seven other children. Some
of the counts were felony counts
and some were misdemeanors. Jurors found that Michael Hestrin, the
Prosecutor was right when he said
that Andrew had died from the injuries that Cynthia had given him and
that since it had been torture, that meant it
was first degree murder:
"Andrew Ibarra was
tortured because the boy suffered extreme, prolonged pain"
Peter Scalisi, Co Defense Lawyer didn't agree:
"I don't think the
government can prove who actually killed Andrew Ibarra"
Peter Scalisi was trying to say that Cynthia's husband, Jeffrey, who
was the only witness for the defense, was the one who had killed
Andrew. Peter also said that if Cynthia had been the one to kill
Andrew, it would have only been involuntary manslaughter. The
Prosecutor stated that there wasn't any evidence that Cynthia was not
the one to hurt this child. Cynthia had claimed that Andrew had
fallen off of the slide in the park where she had taken the children to
play the day before he died. Jeffrey testified
that none of them had even gone to the park that day. Dr Joseph Cohen
testified that during the autopsy he performed, the injuries he saw,
could not have been caused by a fall from the slide.
Superior Court Judge Vilia Sherman was to decide on a sentence that
would be given in December. Cynthia
could receive life in prison.
Andrew had become a ward of the state and had been taken from his
mother and placed in the home of Cynthia and Jeffrey Jackson. Estrella
Ibarra claimed that Child
Protective Services had been aware that Cynthia had been investigate
child abuse allegations in the past.
Nine year old James Donovan testified that he and his brother Tyler had
lived with Cynthia in 1991. Tyler had
hurt his leg at some point, falling down the stairs when asked how he
fell, James answered:
"She pushed him. She
pushed him on the back"
A six year old boy, Andrew Haley, testified that he knew Cynthia Marie
Jackson since she had been his foster mother. Andrew knew that he had
broken his arm while living with her, he just didn't remember how
though his stepmother, Crystal Brooks, knew exactly how:
"He told me that
Cynthia grabbed his arm and she threw him down"
James and Tyler had been removed from the home in 1999 and Andrew in
2000, yet Cynthia was still able to accept more foster children and
only four months later, Andrew
Ibarra would be dead. Andrew was not the only foster child in the
home at the time and two more children,
brothers, were dehydrated and possibly malnourished when police arrived
after Andrew Ibarra's death.
Estrella sued for 15
million dollars and was given a much smaller
settlement, according to her lawyer, Jack Anthony. Two other children,
who were brothers and who were also represented by Jack Anthony and had
been abused, also sued and won a settlement which would give them money
every month until they reach the age of 30 and then they would each
receive a lump some of money.
Social Services sited a
breakdown in communication as being the reason
these children had been placed in
this home after other
children had been removed due to abuse. Cynthia
had been able to hold on to her license which allowed her to be a
foster parent, until the day Andrew
died. Of course NOW there is a
new plan in place for communications that is supposed to stop things
Andrew's death from happening.
In November of 2003 Superior Court Judge Villa Sherman sentenced
Cynthia Marie Jackson to life in prison, but not before he said
a few things to CPS: