The murder trial of Jessica Trefethen, also known as Jessica Williams, 36, of Stockton Springs begins with opening arguments on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the Waldo Judicial Center in Belfast. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A Waldo County General Hospital nurse testified Wednesday that 3½-year-old Maddox Williams appeared malnourished when his mother and grandmother brought him to the Belfast emergency room on Father’s Day last year.

Photos shown to the jury on the first day of the murder trial of his mother, Jessica Trefethen, 36, of Stockton Springs, showed a naked, emaciated child with a temporary tattoo on his forehead and bruises on his arms and groin. His belly appeared distended, or swollen.

The jury of 10 men and six women, including four alternates, were warned about the graphic nature of the pictures, and members did not visibly react to them.

After Maddox’s June 2021 death, the Maine medical examiner’s office determined the cause of death to be multiple blunt force trauma that was inflicted non-accidentally, also known as battered child syndrome. But until Wednesday, information about the boy being allegedly malnourished had not been released.

Trefethen was charged in June 2021 with the depraved indifference murder. Her murder trial began Wednesday at the Waldo Judicial Center in Belfast before Superior Court Justice Robert Murray. It is expected to conclude on Oct. 14.

Nurse Christine Beguin-Fernald, who became emotional when shown the photos of the dead child, testified that the emergency room team worked for more than an hour to try to revive the boy before pronouncing him dead. She said that Trefethen and her mother, Sherry Johnson of Stockton Springs, left the hospital about 10 minutes after the boy died.

The nurse testified that Maddox had dime-sized bruises up and down his arms in different stages of healing. There was a larger bruise on his right elbow and another on the lower part of his abdomen over his pelvis, she said.

Also on Wednesday, relatives of the child testified that he was healthy and happy when living with his father, Andrew Williams of Warren, and he preferred living with him. Maddox’ older half-sister told the jury that her mother slapped Maddox in the face and “threw him” from a New Hampshire motel bathroom onto a hard floor.

Maddox’s 14-year-old half-sister, who lives with her father in northern Waldo County, testified that she had seen her mother slap Maddox in the face more than once. When asked to demonstrate how she did that, the girl used the back of her hand to show how Trefethen struck the boy.

She said that while on a family vacation in New Hampshire around Easter in 2021, the family stayed in a motel. After the mother gave the boy a bath, Trefethen “threw” him out the bathroom door, the girl said. She assumed her mother was angry because Maddox “had pooped in the tub,” as he had done before.

The trial is to resume at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Law enforcement officers who investigated the case are expected to testify.

If convicted of murder, Trefethen faces 25 years to life in prison. She also could be ordered to pay restitution for her son’s funeral expenses.