The mother of a Buffalo toddler who died this week from blunt force injuries is now the second suspect to be charged in the boy's death.
Keona Owens, 22, stood silently and showed little emotion during her arraignment in Buffalo City Court Friday morning. Owens was arrested Thursday night in connection with the death of her 2-year-old son Xavion Hazzard.
Owens faces the same first-degree manslaughter charge as as her boyfriend, Bashar Hall. Hall was arrested late Tuesday. He is not Hazzard's father.
Prosecutuors say Hazzard was beaten and shaken in the Weaver Street home the couple shared with their two other young children on July 17. He later died at John R. Oishei Women and Children's Hospital.
The Erie County Medical Examiner has ruled the boy died of multiple blunt force injuries.
"If you're one to make a list, if you're one to make a pecking order of what the worst crimes are, I think you could make an argument that a mother killing her child would be at the top of that list. I really can't imagine anything more heinous," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said, following the arraignment.
Flynn says as the investigation progresses, Owens and Hall could find themselves facing an upgraded charge if evidence points to "depraved indifference" to the child's life.
"There, obviously, is a higher charge here of murder. There is a higher charge here of murder under the legal theory of depraved indifference. That avenue is going to be explored for both of these defendants," Flynn said.
Owens and Hall are both being held on $500,000 bail. Both have felony hearings next week. If convicted on the charge, each would face up to 25 years in prison.