Wesley Mathews Files Legal Challenge Over Life Sentence

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NBC 5 News

The defense attorney for Wesley Mathews is expected to file a legal challenge on Friday after Mathews was sentenced to life in prison for his daughter's death in 2017, NBC 5 has learned.

Mathews pleaded guilty to the lesser charge he faced at the time of felony injury to a child the day his trial began in late June and admitted to not calling 911 and instead disposing of his daughter's body after he said she choked on milk in the family's Richardson garage.

That left Dallas County jurors to decide the punishment for the adoptive father of Sherin Mathews. Mathews faced a punishment ranging from probation to life in prison.

Jurors unanimously decided on a life sentence for the October 2017 death of the 3-year-old girl.

The other charges against Mathews including capital murder, tampering with evidence and child abandonment were dismissed following the trial.

Had Mathews' been found guilty of capital murder he would face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If the motion for a new trial is not granted, Mathews' would be in his late 60s by the time he is able to potentially be released on parole. 

While on the stand during his trial, Mathews said he left it to the jury to decide his sentence and that if they sentenced him to life in prison he'd "be happy to take it."

In a motion for a new trial, Wesley's appeal attorney, Brook Busbee, states Mathews should be granted a new trial because the "photographs of the remains of the decedent, both where her body was discovered and in the autopsy suite" were so prejudicial as to deny Mathews a fair trial.

At least two jurors were visibly affected when shown the graphic images.

The images were not shown to the audience in the courtroom.

Busbee also states that jurors were shown evidence that Sherin suffered "fractures from before she died. There was no evidence" that linked Mathews to the injuries and "introduction of that evidence unfairly prejudiced the jury."

The move to file an appeal or a motion for a new trial is standard, according to a source close to the case.

Mathews' legal team will not go into details at this time as to what reason or evidence they have to petition a new trial, simply that they are "looking at all options."

Mathews has also been appointed a new attorney in his appeal process. Attorney Michael Casillas has requested all records pertaining to the case and trial.

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