Local News

Judge Sentences Mom for Son's Starvation Death

Posted January 14, 2008

— A judge on Monday refused to strike out the guilty plea of a woman for starving her son to death and instead gave her at least 13 years in prison.

Amber Dowen, 22, pleaded guilty on Sept. 17 to second-degree murder and felony child abuse. She and her husband, Richard, were making a freight delivery in Durham in August 2005 when they asked a deputy for help in getting their 4-year-old child, Randy, to the hospital.

In December, Amber Dowen asked Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens to allow her to withdraw her plea. She said she had inadequate legal representation and felt she had no choice but to plead guilty.

Stephens denied that request on Monday after reviewing the court transcript. He sentenced Amber Dowen to between 13 years and 1 month and 16 years and 6 months. She had faced up to 24 years in prison.

Richard Dowen has already begun serving a 26-year prison sentence.

An autopsy showed that their son died of malnutrition, dehydration and complications from pneumonia. The autopsy also said the boy weighed nearly 19 pounds at the time of his death, which is half of what a boy should weigh at that age.


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  • Weetie Jan 15, 2008

    Glad I cannot be her judge.

  • mythoughts22 Jan 15, 2008

    how anyone can do that to a child is beyond me. i have a 4 year old and it breaks by heart to read stories like this. all i know is hell is hot and God doesnt like you to hurt his children. these people are nothing but cowards and i can only imagine what is going to happen to them in prison

  • ghimmy47 Jan 15, 2008

    I wasn't sitting in that courtroom. It's not possible to judge a case from the media. All I can guess is these were two very ignorant people. If you think you know better than the judge sitting there hearing every word and getting all the information I feel sorry for us all. Ignorance isn't confined to this couple.

  • isabella731 Jan 15, 2008

    Sure.....send her to prison where she will receive 3 meals a day for 13 years. Then, let her out and let her have even MORE children to abuse. Stupid! That poor baby didn't stand a chance. Why should she be allowed a chance at life after prison? He was sentenced to death...she should be as well.

  • d7seaz Jan 15, 2008

    Wonder why they never print the judges' name??

  • d7seaz Jan 15, 2008

    Let's save some taxpayers money and just starve her to death

  • mom2threecld Jan 14, 2008

    she didn't get what she deserved. too bad they don't starve her to death.

  • hol652 Jan 14, 2008

    wesleyes...I agree. Drug dealers get longer sentences that she did. I would rather the drug dealer roam freely. She should be beat and beat and beat and then killed by a bullet. So should the father. This county has gone to shot!!!!

  • ITLAWYER Jan 14, 2008

    13 years is a slap on the wrist. She will fatten up in prison I bet ya while her son never had a chance.

  • GroupOfPricklyPears Jan 14, 2008

    Why?! Why'd she do that to her own son? How could she do that? Maybe mandatory sterilization/castration should accompany the prison sentences in cases where mothers and fathers have killed their own children. She will be of child bearing age when she gets out. Scary thought, huh?