After young son's beating death, woman fights to change Minnesota law

Image 1 of 2

A mother who lost her son in 2003 is trying to make sure child killers stay behind bars.

Cynthia Sweats’ son was taken from her by a man who was supposed to be watching him for the weekend.

Now, she's trying to make it harder for those convicted of killing children to be released from prison.

“That's what happens when you beat a child,” Sweats said. “He didn't discipline him, he beat him."

For the last several years, she has been trying to change Minnesota law.

“I’m going to do my best to turn this around for other kids and other parents," Sweats said.

Cameron Norris was only three when he was beaten to death in February of 2003 in Brooklyn Center by a family friend who was watching him.

Samuel Jones took a plea bargain: 2nd degree unintentional murder, given 20 years in prison and with supervised release.

"There's so many things that Jones did intentionally, and for him to get a prison sentence of’s stabbing me in the heart," Sweats said.

Whenever news breaks of another child dead from abuse - as in Tuesday in Crystal - it breaks her heart all over again.

Yet, those stories only drive her more. Her dream is that Minnesota will make it a mandatory life sentence for anyone who kills a child.

“They have to know that killing a child is not only stealing the child's life, but stealing the life of the parents.”
Sweats made a petition on and a Facebook page called "Fighting for Cameron and Kids."

She’s written to lawmaker and the governor, trying to get any attention for a cause fueled by grief for a boy who should be 17 but is forever 3.