- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - A judge has ordered that a D.C. mother charged in the beating death of her 3-year-old son remain jailed during a hearing that also saw the woman’s family members threaten the prosecutor in the case.

An attorney for Frances Lyles, 25, argued during Wednesday’s hearing that she should be released on bond, saying there was no evidence she was directly responsible for the death of her son, Xavier Lyles, on June 23. He also said Lyles had no criminal history.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Wright argued that Lyles is a danger to her two other kids, a 3-month-old and a 9-year-old, who are now in protective custody, The Washington Post reported, (https://wapo.st/1u37Ae9 ).

“She has a history of excessive punishment and physical abuse to children, who are our most vulnerable victims,” Wright said.

D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Karen Howze ordered Lyles held and set her next hearing for Oct. 2.

A homicide detective escorted prosecutor Wright out of the courthouse after Lyles’ family threatened her.

For weeks after Xavier’s death, Wright told the judge that Lyles misled authorities and said she never hit her children, and then allowed an investigator to believe that her boyfriend was responsible for her son’s injuries.

She told police that she left Xavier with her boyfriend for about a half-hour the night before the boy was found dead in their apartment.

But during the investigation, detectives uncovered a voicemail recording in which Lyles is heard saying she had beaten the boy after he ran and tripped over a bouncer seat that was carrying her baby.

Witnesses, including her boyfriend, also told police that Lyles had a history of hitting her children.

Court records say that the night Xavier died, neighbors heard Lyles yelling at the boy, who was screaming.

Lyles found her son’s lifeless body in his bed the next morning, vomit surrounding his mouth. Instead of calling 911, her first call was to a cousin.

An autopsy report found that Xavier suffered from bleeding of his heart, a bruised liver, and a dislodged kidney. He was covered in cuts and bruises, and had healed, older bruises on his back, and scars under his chin.

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Information from: The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com

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