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Patricia Blackmon is on death row in Alabama for capital murder in the death of her 28-month-old adopted daughter, Dominiqua. Blackmon had adopted Dominiqua nine months before she was murdered.
On May 29, 1999, Patricia Blackmon, age 29, called 9-1-1 in Dothan, Alabama because her daughter Dominiqua was not breathing. When paramedics arrived at Blackmon's mobile home, they found Dominiqua lying on the floor of the master bedroom -- she was wearing only a diaper and blood-soaked socks, was covered in vomit, and she was not breathing. There was a large bump on her forehead and blood on her chest.
After the paramedics attempted to revive her, she was transported to Flowers Hospital Emergency Room where she died shortly after arriving. Two doctors, one of them being Dominiqua's pediatrician, Dr. Robert Head, examined the child and found that she had multiple bruises and contusions and an imprint of the sole of a shoe on her chest. They also observed several older scars on Dominiqua, that were from previous injuries and in various stages of healing.
Included in the 30 separate injuries found on her body, the medical examiner Dr. Alfredo Parades found bruises on the front part of her lower chest and upper abdomen and around the right groin. She had also suffered a fractured leg.
He also found that Dominiqua had two broken bones and many other injuries that were in various stages of healing. Parades concluded that her death was due to multiple blunt-force injuries to her head, chest, abdomen, and extremities. Another discovery found on Dominiqua was an imprint of the sole of a shoe on her chest that was so clearly defined that it was captured in a photograph taken by the doctor.
Dr. James Downs, chief medical examiner for the State of Alabama, testified that he compared the images taken of the shoe print to sandals Blackmon was wearing on the day of the murder. It was his opinion that the sole of the sandals matched the imprint embedded in Dominiqua's chest.
Downs also said that he believed Dominiqua was struck with a pool cue resulting in her most recent injuries.
Wayne Johnson, Blackmon's father-in-law testimony showed that Blackmon was the only person caring for Dominiqua on the evening of the murder, up until the time the paramedics arrived at Blackmon's home at around 9:30 p.m.
Johnson testified that on the night Dominiqua was killed, he saw Dominiqua earlier in the evening and she seemed fine, playing and acting normally. He said Blackmon and Dominiqua left his house at around 8 p.m.
A search of Blackmon's mobile home uncovered several blood-splattered items. Forensic tests found the blood on a broken pool cue, a child's T-shirt, a pink flat bed sheet, a quilt, and two napkins. The blood found on all of the items matched Dominiqua's blood.
In her defense, Blackmon said that the child was injured when she fell off of the bed. Blackmon called several character witnesses to testify in her defense. Judy Whatley, an employee of the Department of Human Resources, said that in her opinion, Blackmon and Dominiqua had a good relationship. Whatley had contact with Dominiqua and Blackmon once a month for five months before August 1998. Tammy Freeman, Blackmon's neighbor, testified that she frequently left her children under Blackmon's care.
The jury convicted Blackmon of capital murder. A separate sentencing hearing was held, at which the State relied on the aggravating circumstance that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel to support a death sentence. After the sentencing hearing the jury, by a vote of 10 to two, recommended the death penalty.
In August 2005, Blackmon appealed to the court, arguing that the State failed to prove that the murder was especially, heinous, atrocious, or cruel as compared to other capital murders. She argued that the State failed to prove that Dominiqua was conscious during any of the attacks and that she suffered.
Blackmon believed that Dominiqua was knocked unconscious before Blackmon beat her, and as a result, the child did not feel the pain of being beaten. Her appeal was turned down.
Patricia Blackmon now sits on death row at Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.