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Gainesville couple sentenced 7 years in 4-year-old's death

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

A Gainesville couple accused of neglect in the death of a 4-year-old boy have both accepted a plea deal.

Matilde and Johnny Lee Alexander, Nathan de Alejandro's step grandparents, will serve seven years in prison under the district attorney's plea deal.

The district attorney's office said they neglected to take Nathan to the hospital, after he was badly burned by their son, Johnny Earl Alexander.

But Debbie Ramirez, Nathan's maternal grandmother, said this deal's not fair.

"It's like they just slapped him on the hand and said don't do it again," she said. "That's wrong."

Ramirez said she can't see how anybody could standby and not try to help when a child is suffering.

She said Matilde and Johnny Alexander got off easy.

But District Attorney Janice Warder said the state could only prove a 3rd degree felony, based on the evidence.

"Even if he had been given optimal care after 10 days that the likelihood that he would have survived would have been very low, because the infection had already set in," Warder said.

Last September, Nathan was allegedly burned by his mother's boyfriend, Johnny Earl Alexander.

Ten days afterward, he was placed in the care of Alexander's parents, who never took him to the hospital. Nathan died a few days later.

"Even if he would have died, they could have at least made the attempt to take him to the hospital, to try to save him," Ramirez said.

The trial was supposed to begin Monday. But the couple were offered a plea bargain Thursday.

Ramirez and Nathan's great grandmother, Evelyn Foster, claim they were never notified that a deal was on the table.

"And we had the right to be notified," Foster said. "We had the right to know what was going on. That's my great-grandson and her grandson."

Warder said she can't comment on that - another prosecutor offered the deal.

"I can't answer that question," she said. "I'm not the one that did those pleas."

Neither Ramirez nor Foster feel justice was served in this case.

"We have waited one year to be able to hear the sentencing of these people and see what justice has taken place," Foster said.

Nathan's mother, Catrina, and boyfriend, Johnny Earl Alexander, have been in federal custody. Warder said a trial date has not been set for either of them.


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