No prison time for woman whose 5-year-old daughter weighed 7 pounds when she died

Credit: Hall County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Hall County Sheriff's Office

A Buford woman accused of starving her 5-year-old daughter to death will not be spending any time behind bars, the Hall County District Attorney’s Office said.

Porscha Danielle Mickens was sentenced to 20 years of probation after entering an open-ended plea Monday to second-degree murder and child cruelty charges. District Attorney Lee Darragh said his office argued for a sentence of 30 years, with 25 to be served in prison and five years on probation, but explained that the court exercised discretion and sentenced her to probation only.

“This was one of the most egregious cases of child neglect that I’ve ever seen in a long time in prosecution and we do feel like incarceration would have been more appropriate obviously or we would not have argued for it, but it is the judge’s decision,” Darragh told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via phone Tuesday.

Kylie Mickens weighed less than eight pounds in June 2020. She was unresponsive when her parents took her to Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton for treatment, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said at the time. She was flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite and died the next day.

Porscha Mickens and Kylie’s father, Jerrail Maurice Mickens, were charged after an autopsy conducted by the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office determined Kylie died as a result of malnutrition and dehydration due to medical neglect, authorities said. Jerrail Mickens died this past November in a motorcycle crash in Atlanta.

Defense attorney Corinne Mull said the child was born with a chromosomal deficiency that made it difficult for her to eat and drink and prevented her from gaining weight. Mull said Kylie suffered from 1p36 deletion syndrome, a rare disorder that typically causes severe intellectual disability, weak muscle tone and trouble swallowing.

“Although (Kylie) had significant medical problems, it was shown in the autopsy that she died simply of malnutrition and it wasn’t directly related to the syndrome that she had, as the defense sought to claim,” Darragh said.

In court, Hall County Assistant DA Anna Fowler showed pictures to Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller of Kylie “looking like a mummy,” emaciated and dehydrated, the Gainesville Times reported.

Credit: Hall County

Credit: Hall County

But after hearing several hours of evidence, Fuller said he believed no prison time was warranted.

“When giving all of the evidence consideration, the court does not find that these facts warrant or demand that you be placed in prison,” Fuller said to Mickens, according to the Times.

Fuller, a Gainesville native, has served as a Superior Court judge for the Northeastern Judicial Circuit since July 1993. The 67-year-old announced earlier this year that he plans to retire in December, saying he wanted to spend more time with his four grandchildren.

“It should go without saying that the court’s sentence does not lessen the value of Kylie’s life,” Fuller also said regarding the sentencing. “Generally speaking, imprisonment is less of a sentence utilized and imposed when criminal negligence is at issue.”