Death Penalty Wanted In Horrific Death Of Toddler

July 7, 2017
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A man in Winston-Salem will face the possibility of the death penalty in connection with the death of a 2-year-old boy, who prosecutors say had injuries so bad that he wouldn’t have been able to have talked or walked again if had lived.

Charles Thomas Stacks is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jaxson Sonny Swaim, who died from head injuries on Aug. 19, 2015.

A hearing was held in Forsyth Superior Court to determine if Forsyth County prosecutors can pursue the death penalty should Stacks be convicted.

The request was granted by Judge David Hall of Forsyth Superior Court.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Martin said that Jaxson Swaim had bruises and abrasions on every part of his body and had severe head injuries. The Doctors who treated Jaxson determined that he had suffered an “acute and catastrophic” injury, Martin said.

If he had lived, he would never walk or talk again,” she said.

Martin said that the toddler had bite marks on his body that were later identified as human and his testicles were swollen. He also had abrasions on his genitals and according to an autopsy report, Jaxson died as a result of bleeding between the surface of his brain and its outer covering, which had been caused by a blunt force head injury.

Jaxson’s mother, Candace Swaim, was friends with Stacks and lived with Stacks and his wife, Megin, in the Stacks’ house in the 5400 block of Grubbs Street. Martin said that 0ther people also lived in the house, including other children.

Martin said Candace Swaim was dealing with substance abuse issues and struggling to find housing and that’s why she ended up moving in with the Stackse. Candace was often not in the house, instead staying at a nearby motel and on Aug. 16, 2015, she left the house to stay at the motel, Martin said.

Megin Stacks also left the house for about an hour on Aug. 16, 2015 and is facing a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. She is accused of telling her 4 children (ages 12, 11, 7 and 7) not to cooperate with police or Forsyth County Child Protective Services while the agencies were investigating allegations of abuse involving 2-year-old Jaxson. Her next court date in Forsyth District Court is Sept. 19.

Martin said prosecutors had found 3 damning factors for pursuing the death penalty — that the alleged murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; that the murder was committed during the commission of a specified felony, felony child abuse; and that Charles Stacks had previously been convicted of a violent felony in Virginia back in December 2008.

Nils Gerber, Stacks’ attorney, said that he understands that these are just allegations that prosecutors have to prove in a court of law and that he knows the purpose of the hearing.

“Mr. Stacks didn’t commit this crime and didn’t inflict these injuries,” he said.

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