A Missouri man was convicted of murdering his 9-year-old son on Friday.
Dawan Ferguson, committed the crime in June 2003 after which he made a 911 call claiming a carjacker took his maroon 1999 Ford Expedition with his son Christian Ferguson, 9, still inside.
Investigators Found Inconsistencies Around Dawan's 911 Call
Authorities in St. Louis County, Missouri, finally pressed charges against the father in 2019. Police have reportedly said there were inconsistencies around his 911 call, such as a resident saying the SUV was parked there through the time of the 911 call. Dawan also had a cellphone when he made the 911 call from a pay phone, officials said, noting another one of the alleged inconsistencies.
Christian Suffered from a Rare Metabolic Disorder
Christian was a special needs child and required significant medical care. His mother testified that he was born with a rare metabolic disorder. His body has not yet been found. Prosecutor John Schlesinger told jurors during closing arguments on Friday that Christian slipped into a coma on Jan. 16, 2001. The child sustained brain damage and could no longer walk or talk. He required a feeding tube.
Prosecutors: Dawan Killed Christian Because He Couldn't Provide Proper Medical Care
"Everything changed then," Schlesinger said, before adding that Dawan failed to provide proper care for Christian, ignoring signs of problems at the beginning of the medical emergency and only checking on him the next day at 11 a.m.
"Because of all of that, Christian was in the hospital for the next six months, and he would never again be the cute little boy that you saw in that video," Schlesinger said. Christian's final doctor's appointment was on March 3, 2003, he said. He had lost seven pounds from his previous check-up and did not grow in height, the prosecutors said. Medical providers failed to report those issues, the prosecutor added.
"Should the nurses and should the doctors have hotlined this? Yes. Did they? No. But that does not mean that he has not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," Schlesinger said. "It just makes the story even more tragic because everybody in a way failed here."
Prosecutors argued that Dawan killed his son Christian because the child needed a lot of medical care. That care interfered with defendant Ferguson's polyamorous lifestyle, authorities said. Monica Ferguson filed to divorce Dawan after 18 years of marriage shortly before he was charged in Christian's death.
He had full custody of the child at the time and married to another woman who was not Christian's mother. At least two women are expected to testify that Dawan told them he killed Christian, according to the Post-Dispatch. A sister of the missing child may also testify about going to police in 2018, claiming to hear her brother killed at their home in 2003.
Defense Argued Dawan was a Bad Father, Not a Murderer
Defense lawyer Jemia Steele unsuccessfully argued that prosecutors merely proved that her client was a bad father â not a murderer.
The state does not know what happened to Christian, she said. "That's not a murder trial," she said. "What we've heard is a lot of innuendos, a lot of rumors, a lot of suggestions, and a lot of theories as to what they think happened, but we haven't heard any evidence as far as what was the cause, or if Mr. Ferguson was the cause of Christian's death."