Could battered Burnsville mom protect son from boyfriend's abuse?

A Burnsville, Minn. mother was sentenced to prison for failing to protect her 4-year-old son from the ultimately fatal abuse inflicted by a former boyfriend, but the mother's attorney says she was badly abused herself, with no control over her money, vehicles and phones.

Sha'reese Monique Miller, 25, was sentenced June 19 to 4 years and 2 months in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter for failing to protect 4-year-old Key'ontay. William Alphonson Warr, 26, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for second-degree murder in the boy's death that happened two years ago.

Key'ontay's serious internal injuries were left untreated and he died June 2013, after Miller had apparently tried to cool his fever in a bathtub. He died of complications from blunt-force injuries to his abdomen and chest, the Hennepin County medical examiner said. According to the coroner, he had an injury in his small intestine and was suffering internal bleeding "long enough for him to develop sepsis and infection."

The Star Tribune reported Miller said her son had been sick since June 6 with stomach pain and flu-like symptoms, and apparently wouldn't cooperate with child protection and family members, but her attorney, DeAundres Wilson, said this behavior is consistent with a woman suffering abuse.

Miller had a protection order against Warr for herself and two children but still had an 18-month relationship him. Dakota County attorney James Backstrom said in a statement Miller placed the boy "in extreme danger" by failing to protect him from someone she knew was harming him.

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