Mississippi woman sentenced for smothering 10-year-old boy, burning him with lit cigarette

Published 6:19 am Tuesday, June 28, 2022

A Mississippi woman accused of burning a child with a lit cigarette and attempting to smother the child pleaded guilty in George County Circuit Court last week.

Ava Jean Keel, now 34, pleaded guilty to three counts of felonious child abuse. Judge Robert Krebs sentenced Keel to 20 years on each count, with 10 years to serve. Krebs ordered that the sentences run concurrently.

The judge also fined Keel $750 and ordered her to pay $100 to the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund along and all court costs. The judge also ordered that Keel undergo a complete psychiatric evaluation while she is in custody in the state Department of Corrections, with orders for state officials to provide her with any and all medication that should be given to Keel as a result of the examination.

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Keel waa accused of burning a 10-year boy with a lit cigarette and twice attempting to smother the child by putting the child’s head underwater in one instance and using a pillow to smother the child in another.

Keel claims she was under the influence of drugs when she committed the crimes.

In her plea agreement, Keel admitted committing the crimes at different times between August and September 2017. Keel only referenced burning the boy with a cigarette.