Background: Diane Marsh had testified a housemate convinced her that satanic cults were out to kill her and her son.
According to Marsh every bad act that happened to her son was the result of her housemate Flower Tompson’s power over her.
A forensic psychologist had told the jury the woman was thoroughly brainwashed.
A Tucson mother who was convicted of negligent homicide last month in the death of her 5-year-old son was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday morning by Pima County Superior Court Judge Hector Campoy.
Diane Marsh, 41, was originally charged with first-degree murder in the March 2007 death of Brandon Williams, but jurors convicted her of the less serious charge of negligent homicide after Marsh told them her roommate, Flower Tompson, 28, was responsible for the boy’s death. Marsh was also convicted of four counts of child abuse. Tompson called 911 on March 21, 2007, after Brandon stopped breathing. Resuscitation efforts failed, and the boy died at Northwest Medical Center.
Paramedics who went to Marsh’s North Side home called the Pima County Sheriff’s Department because they saw marks on the boy’s wrists, ankles and feet that indicated he had been tied up and burned.
An autopsy revealed the child died of a skull fracture and had large amounts of the sleeping medication in his system. Tompson pleaded guilty to child abuse. But Marsh went to trial in July and shifted the burden to Tompson. Marsh testified Tompson convinced her that satanic cults were out to kill her and her son, and that Tompson knew the best way to deal with Brandon, even when it involved physical abuse.
Although Marsh told detectives she had tied Brandon to his bed and dipped his feet in hot water to quell his temper tantrums, she told jurors Tompson did those things because he had been disrespectful toward Tompson.