A Bowling Green mother pleaded guilty to her actions that led to her 3-year-old son being beaten into a persistent vegetative state.
Dreva Kirkwood, 21, 2102 Southland Way, Apt. B., pleaded guilty Monday in Warren County Circuit Court to second-degree criminal abuse and first-degree wanton endangerment.
She agreed to a 10-year sentence, said Chris Cohron, commonwealth’s attorney for Warren County. Kirkwood, who was facing a maximum sentence of 35 years, also agreed to testify against her codefendant, Leroy Jermaine Sturdivant.
Sturdivant, 25, Kirkwood’s live-in boyfriend, is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 8 in Warren Circuit Court. Sturdivant is charged with first-degree assault, first-degree criminal abuse, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and second-degree persistent felony offender.
“We feel this is a fair sentence, considering Ms. Kirkwood’s limited involvement,” Cohron said. “Mr. Sturdivant is the most responsible for the injuries to the child.”
Considering the prison time Kirkwood was facing, it was a good plea agreement for all involved, said Leslie Rudloff, a Bowling Green attorney representing Kirkwood. The plea agreement means that Kirkwood will be eligible for parole in two years.
Her son was the victim of abuse and she also was physically abused by Sturdivant, Rudloff said.
“The situation clouded her judgment, just like any other victim of domestic violence,” she said. “She couldn’t see a way out.”
Kirkwood’s son, Daniel Serrano, remains in a persistent vegetative state at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
The child was taken to The Medical Center on Feb. 12 with a severe head injury and bruises and belt marks all over his body, according to a Bowling Green Police Department report.
A medical exam also showed that Daniel had broken ribs that were in various stages of healing, according to the report.
Kirkwood told police that she knew Sturdivant was abusing the boy, but still left him alone to care for her son, according to police. Sturdivant was responsible for watching Daniel and Kirkwood’s other child, a 1-year-old. The other child has been placed in protective custody since Kirkwood’s arrest.
Kirkwood is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 27 in Warren Circuit Court.
Kirkwood and Sturdivant have been in custody since they were arrested in February, each with a $100,000 bond.
She is being sentenced prior to Sturdivant’s trial based on a new law that allows the plea and sentence to be rejected if Kirkwood declines to testify at Sturdivant’s trial.
“If she doesn’t testify honestly, completely and truthfully, her plea and sentence will be withdrawn and she’ll have to go in front of a jury,” Cohron said.
Rudloff said getting her client to testify won’t be a problem.
“She’s absolutely sickened by him,” Rudloff said. “It’s one thing to know that someone’s spanking your child. It’s another to know that he’s beating the child within an inch of its life.”
Kirkwood was working 40 hours a week, plus going to school, and was the primary breadwinner for the couple, Rudloff said, and believed Sturdivant was taking care of her children properly.
Kirkwood’s main fault was making a bad choice in boyfriends, Rudloff said.