Bradenton mom accused of killing daughter, putting body in freezer accepts plea deal

Keishanna Thomas is accused of killing her daughter Janiya, 11, and putting her body in a freezer.

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – The mother of Janiya Thomas has been sentenced to prison. It was a story that made national headlines in 2015. The 11-year-old girl was found dead and stuffed in a freezer. 

On Wednesday, her mother, Keishanna Thomas, pleaded no contest and will spend 65 years behind bars.

Prosecutors say 11-year-old Janiya had a rough life and a gruesome death, and now her mother will face justice for the crime.

Investigators said Janiya suffered from a serious health condition where she defecated uncontrollably and was mistreated by her mother.

She was last seen in 2014 and one year later, she was found dead, stuffed in a box and locked in a freezer. Investigators said she was emaciated with broken bones and weighed only 44 pounds.

On Wednesday, Keishanna Thomas pleaded no contest to charges including second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She was sentenced to 65 years in prison.

“I’m doing this, Your Honor, because I feel this is in my best interest and that I don’t want to put my kids through a trial,” explained Thomas.

Prosecutors are satisfied with the sentence.

“I think this is the most horrific child death I was ever involved in,” said prosecutor Arthur Brown.

Brown said this amounts to a life sentence.

“We felt this was a good disposition. It saved the remaining children who would’ve been witnesses in the case the trauma of having to relive an absolutely horrific series of events,” Brown explained.

“[This will] prevent her from having access to children for the remainder of her life,” Brown added.

Prosecutors say the medical examiner could not definitively determine a cause of death.

“I think the fact that she had been frozen for so long affected the medical examiner’s ability to specifically identify the mechanism of death, but it was obvious in his eyes that it was the result of homicidal violence including chronic malnutrition,” said Brown.

A friend of the Thomas family has mixed feelings.

“We look at it as justice being served, but at the end of the day, it’s still sad on both ends, but I just hope she gets the help in prison. I hope that she can get herself together and I pray for her,” said friend Wayne Washington.

“My heart goes out to Keishanna as well, the mom, because if y’all look at what’s happening, this was an abused woman who had children and she never got the mental help and she ended up hurting her kids in the process,” Washington added.


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