No jail time for mother arrested in death of 5-year-old daughter who weighed 8 pounds

HALL COUNTY, Ga. — A woman accused of depriving her 5-year-old daughter of food and water before she died weighing just under 8 pounds will not face jail time.

Porscha Mickens, the child’s mother, was sentenced to 20 years of probation after she took a plea deal Monday on second-degree murder and child cruelty charges.

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Kylie Mickens, 5, was taken to a Hall County hospital in June 2020 weighing just 2 more pounds than the day she was born, according to the Gainesville Times. She weighed less than 6 pounds at birth and less than 8 pounds when she died on June 8. Her father, Jerrail Mickens, was killed in a motorcycle crash on Nov. 27, 2020, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Assistant District Attorney Anna Fowler said Mickens was suffering from the worst case of malnutrition and dehydration doctors had ever seen and that she was “looking like a mummy.”

According to the autopsy report, Kylie Mickens died of dehydration and malnutrition due to medical neglect.

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Kylie Mickens was born with the rare 1p36 deletion syndrome, which causes weak muscle tone and brain abnormalities. People with the syndrome also have seizures and difficulty swallowing.

Porscha Mickens testified on the stand about the difficulty of caring for a child with the condition. She said her daughter was eating the same amount every day and that she often gained and lost weight on a day-to-day basis.

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“I didn’t realize she was dying. … (When) her body shut down, I had seen that before, so I didn’t think that she was dying,” Mickens told the court.

More than a dozen of Porscha Mickens’ friends and family members there supporting her. They testified that she constantly cared for her daughter and had taken her to 14 specialists and a naturopathic doctor.

The District Attorney’s office had asked that Mickens get a 30-year sentence with 25 to serve in prison and five on probation.

Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller said that under the law, the facts did not demand that Porscha Mickens should go to prison, but said he hoped her daughter’s death was punishment enough.

“The court can only hope that you will suffer a greater punishment simply by that fact than any punishment that this court could impose on you, the fact that you lost Kylie and will not have her in your life for the rest of your life,” Fuller said.