Decatur Woman Sentenced to Life Plus 20 Years for Child Abuse Resulting in Son’s Death

Decatur Woman Sentenced to Life Plus 20 Years for Child Abuse Resulting in Son’s Death

A Decatur woman convicted of child abuse that led to the death of her young son has been sentenced to decades in prison. On May 17, 2024, jurors found Malisha Sasfras, 26, guilty on charges of Felony Murder, three counts of Cruelty to Children in the First Degree, and two counts of Aggravated Battery stemming from the death of her four-year-old on February 11, 2023.

malisha-sasfras
Malisha Sasfras

On Friday, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie sentenced Sasfras to Life plus 20 years in confinement.

At around 4:30 p.m. on February 11, 2023, paramedics responded to a call about an unresponsive child at an apartment in the 2100 block of Candler Road in unincorporated Decatur. First responders transported the boy to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), where he was pronounced dead.

Sasfras told officers that her son had a headache that morning and went back to bed. That afternoon, one of her other children noticed the four-year-old would not wake up and was cold to the touch. Sasfras tried to wake him by pouring water into his mouth and then called her son’s father, Co-Defendant Javonte Harris, who convinced her to call 911.

Doctors at CHOA found extensive injuries on the boy’s body, including multiple scars and bruises in different stages of healing, patterned injuries resembling a belt or cord, a ligature mark around his neck, blisters around his wrists, and a severe facial injury.

An autopsy revealed the boy died from blunt force trauma to the head, which likely occurred six to eight hours before he died. Sasfras, the only adult home during that period, claimed she did not know how he received the facial injury. She admitted to “whooping” her children but could not explain the multiple other injuries. Investigators found social media messages between Sasfras and Harris discussing beating the boy for wetting his bed or having accidents.

The case against Harris is still pending. On May 9, 2023, a DeKalb County Grand Jury indicted Harris on charges of Murder in the Second Degree and Cruelty to Children in the Second Degree.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Charles Ciba with assistance from Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Coveney, District Attorney Investigator Camella Mungroo-Patterson, and Victim Advocate Tess Balles. DeKalb County Police Department Det. Panosian led the initial investigation.

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