For Immediate Release - October 29, 2009

Mother Guilty Of Manslaughter In Death Of Infant Daughter

A Salem Superior Court jury found Jennifer Ward, 39, of Peabody, guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the November, 2007, death of her nine-month-old daughter. Judge David Lowy will sentence Ward at 9 a.m. Monday morning. Involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison.

The jury deliberated for about eight hours over two days.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Kate B. MacDougall proved that on November 18, 2007, Ward shook and beat Jocelyn Mae Ward-Anderson to death in a rage of anger. The baby had been fussing for 2 ½ hours prior to the killing.

Prosecutor MacDougall told the jury in her closing argument that the baby had been "brutalized." The infant suffered a fractured skull, brain damage, and fractures to both shoulders and left arm.

MacDougall praised the work of Peabody and State Police investigators, and thanked the medical professionals at Lahey Clinic in Peabody and Children's Hospital in Boston for their extraordinary efforts on Jocelyn's behalf.

Ward was represented by Attorney Thomas Barrett of Salem.