Jury reaches verdict after two hours in Fletcher trial


By Meladi Brewer


GREENVILLE — After two hours of deliberation, the jury found Ashlee R. Fletcher guilty of child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter, both are felonies. Judge Travis L. Fliehman presided.

The state called their last witness and both sides gave closing arguments in the case against Fletcher, 38, of Greenville Thursday before the jury went back to deliberate. The State’s last witness was the victim’s primary doctor for his diabetes.

She testified that checking blood sugar is like road signs for a child’s needs. It is important that the child is pricking their finger with a glucose monitor stick and reading their sugar in the morning, before food intake, and before bed. She also said it is important to check at night as needed as well.

If a diabetes patient is following proper protocol, it is over thousands of pricks to the finger each year. She testified it is normal for patients, especially children, to fight back when it comes to proper care, and this is why they stressed to mom the importance of regularly supervising her son’s treatment.

The doctor testified she had concerns repeatedly about treatment, but because they are not at the house, they have to rely heavily on what the mother and son tell her. Because they said he was getting every shot, she had to believe them.

“The Dexcom records does not show us if insulin is given. It only shows us what the blood sugar is,” The doctor said. “There is concern if there is proper supervision to monitor every shot.”

Records the month the victim had been out of school before the final DKA episode that would take his life showed he had been above the recommended safe zone for a while, and potentially missed shots of insulin based on how the charts presented. The doctor said DKAs are preventable if proper care is being administered.

“It really shouldn’t happen. Most children should never have DKA; however, there are instances where it can’t be helped.”

The doctor testified that a child with Type 1 diabetes is to be brought in or a phone call should be administered if they begin vomiting. She said it is very important to bring the child in, and every time the victim was brought in, the mother was reeducated and told.

In February 2020 there had been a gap in the victim’s treatment, the Dexcom showed there were gaps in the wearing of the device, and it had run out and a refill had not been called into the hospital. The doctor also said he had “appeared to be out of insulin as well,” and that is why it was important to come in every three months. Data showed there had been a decrease in maintained appointments through the years.

“We also recommend calling us if the blood sugar is out of range; so they can do that between the visits. If it is consistently over 200, call,” the doctor said.

The data collected from the Dexcom showed the month before the victim had gone to his dad’s, he had missed shots and not worked his Dexcom on occasion. His levels had been elevated for some time. It was testified the patient had been vomiting for a while, and mom went to bed instead of calling the hospital or taking him in.

“It is important that once there is vomiting, it is important to come to the hospital, regardless,” the doctor said.

State Prosecutor Deborah Quigley, in her closing statement, advised the jury to discard and push past all the “distractions” the defense council pushed toward them and remember why they are there. She told them they are not there to talk about what someone did or didn’t do, they are not there to talk about what Child Protective Services didn’t do, but they are there to think about what Fletcher did in the last 24 hours of her son’s life.

“Ashlee Fletcher utterly failed her legal responsibilities. She failed her son, and that failure led to his death,” Quigley said.

Quigley said she cannot argue she didn’t know what to do because testimony and evidence show she had the education and training.

“She had the tools, she had the resources she needed, and she had the information. The testimony and evidence also show she squandered it all,” Quigley said.

The victim had been in a downward spiral, and it showed by his numbers. He had a DKA in February 2022, and he began showing up to school sick with readings in the 500s after. The last day he is seen at school was May 5, 2020, and when the school nurse calls mom, Fletcher said she can’t take him.

“She calls mom because he wants to go to the hospital. He knows how sick he is, but she can’t leave work,” Quigley said.

Quigley said there are no medical records from May 2022, so they know they did not call or go to the hospital. The Dexcom readings from May 5 until June 6 show his numbers were off the charts in the 400s.

“He’s obviously with mom most of the time, and the numbers are over 400 most of the days,” Quigley said.

The average blood sugar reading for the past month had been 392, and the doctors did not want the victim over 200. Quigley said there wasn’t anything done to help the child. Not even a call. When dad got concerned and took their son back to mom after his weekend visit, he begged her to take him to the hospital if it got worse.

“What did she say? ‘I got this,’ but she didn’t,” Quigley said.

Quigley said Fletcher made the conscious choice to help him into the house, and she puts him on the couch, and she leaves him. She gave different stories about what happened that day, but there is one consistency.

“What is consistent with both those stories is at 4 a.m., according to her, she leaves this sick child on the couch. She leaves him there, walks away from this sick child, and she doesn’t come back until almost 1:30 in the afternoon,” Quigley said.

She stressed that it was nine hours later, and it had been almost 12 hours since his last insulin shot according to what Fletcher verbally stated. When she finally found her dead son on the couch, she took a photo before getting help.

“There is one person responsible. One person with sole custody, and there was one person who was with the victim. -’I got this!’ She should have had it. She knew exactly what to do, and for whatever reason she chose not to,” Quigley said.

Defense Attorney David Rohrer said this trial was about a tragedy of a 14 year old boy dying of Type 1 diabetes and parents who are continuously mourning the death of their son. He said the “distractions” Quigley talked about are reasonable doubt, and they have to look at the circumstances when looking over a case.

He said there was “one thing the doctor said he thought was ridiculous.” The doctor had stated that it was not right for the legal guardian, mom, to willingly leave her son with someone who had not been properly trained on how to care for diabetes, so the level of care was concerning. This statement was in regards to Fletcher leaving her son in the father’s care after he had failed the diabetes care test the first time and had not been educated the amount Fletcher had been.

“That’s easy to say when you’re not a single mother trying to raise kids. It’s not an easy thing to do,” Rohrer said.

He stressed how it would be hard for any working, single parent with multiple kids to look after and monitor everything a child does. He said “this whole trial is a failure of the system,” and they have to look at what CPS, the hospital, dad, and the school nurse did and did not do throughout the child’s care.

“Children Services is the last line of defense. They are the ones that protect out children, so if things were so bad, why was he still in her care?” Rohrer asked.

He said maybe it was because they didn’t think it was so bad, he paused before finishing with “and now we have a dead child.”

Quigley reminded the jury that Fletcher is on trial not CPS, and they cannot pick a verdict based off emotion or potential punishment. She said no one is saying Fletcher killed her son, they are saying she failed him.

“His life was in her hands alone on June 6. It is easy to cry now, but what was she doing for those nine hours when he is on the couch without medical treatment, food, water, and insulin? Where is she? Cause she’s not with him. No one is,” Quigley said.

Fletcher was found guilty on both counts, and was remanded into custody with bond revoked. She is to appear for sentencing on Sept. 29.

To Contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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