Crime & Courts

Woman’s 1-year-old was scalded, died of abuse

A Hickory woman whose ex-boyfriend is charged with murder in the death of her 1-year-old son was sentenced to at least three years in prison on Friday for allowing the abuse.

Whitney Ann Weathers apologized in Catawba County Superior Court.

“I’m sorry for failing you all and my kids, and making bad choices,” the 25-year-old woman said, according to the Catawba County District Attorney’s Office.

Whitney Ann Weathers
Whitney Ann Weathers Catawba County District Attorney’s Office

Weathers pleaded guilty as charged to one count of child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury and four counts of child abuse inflicting serious physical injury.

She was found negligent in allowing William Howard Lail III, also 25, “to administer inappropriate forms of discipline to her then 3-year-old daughter and 20-month-old son from February to May 2013,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

Warrants from 2013 said the boy had recent and older “scalding injuries,” Observer news partner WBTV reported. His sister had similar injuries, WBTV reported, citing court documents.

Long View Police and Catawba County Social Services also found severe bruising on the children “consistent with physical abuse,” the district attorney’s office said Friday.

Weathers also admitted to securing the children in car seats and placing them in closets, according to prosecutors.

“I’ve been on the bench since 1998, and this is one of the most difficult cases I’ve heard,” Judge Lisa Bell said. “I can’t even begin to fathom the loss.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak