Jessica Trefethen listens to Assistant Attorney General John Risler address jurors in Waldo County Superior Court on Wednesday. On Friday, jurors in her trial on a charge of depraved indifference murder heard her first interview with police, three days after Maddox Williams’ death from blunt force trauma. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

BELFAST — Jurors in the trial of a Stockton Springs woman charged with murder in the death of her 3-year-old son received a firsthand account of Jessica Trefethen’s defense on Friday when prosecutors played a recording of her first interview with police.

Three days after Maddox Williams died, investigators searching for Trefethen went to her mother’s house. Sherry Johnson had lied to officials about her daughter’s whereabouts during previous visits, but this time she admitted Trefethen was there.

Maddox Williams Photo from the #justiceformaddox GoFundMe page

In the taped interview played in Waldo County Superior Court, Trefethen told investigators she had been “everywhere.”

She sobbed at times during the recording, describing in a hoarse voice her account of what happened when her son died on June 20, 2021, calling it the worst thing she had ever experienced.

The family had recently adopted a puppy, which frequently jumped on the children, she said, echoing events her defense attorneys laid out Wednesday in opening statements of Trefethen’s trial on a charge of depraved indifference murder. The kids were playing outside when her daughter told her that the dog had dragged Maddox along the ground.

Trefethen told investigators that Maddox had come inside and complained that his stomach hurt, and that he went outside after she gave him some cereal. She said he came back in with more complaints – so she had him lie down while she called her mother to give her a ride to the hospital.


Trefethen described Maddox as a “great kid.” His siblings picked on him a bit, but they were glad that he came to live with them when she regained custody several months before his death.

Maddox’s father, Andrew Williams of Warren, had been arrested for an attempted robbery in early 2020 and an OUI the following year. Maddox was there for both arrests.

Trefethen told investigators that she could not “change his butt” without Maddox screaming, but said she wasn’t much of a disciplinarian. She would yell at them and send them to their room but did not punish them much beyond that. The kids usually slept wherever they wanted. Maddox was scared of closets and of being alone.

“These kids get away with murder and then some,” she told police. “That’s probably not the word I should use.”

She described her kids as wild and spoiled. She would take them to the Dollar Store and buy them temporary tattoos and stickers.

The prosecution has pointed to those temporary tattoos as an effort to hide Maddox’s bruises.


Trefethen described Maddox as a small, easily bruised child. He was a premature baby and spent the first several weeks of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit.

When Maddox came to live with her in early 2021 he had a bump on his head and two front teeth were missing, Trefethen said. Investigators told her he was missing a third tooth that the medical examiner determined had been lost just days before he died.

The investigators described Maddox’s injuries during the interview, saying he had blunt force trauma and a fracture in his lower spine. She told them he appeared to be walking fine before his death. Hearing them describe his injuries made her “sick to her stomach.”

Trefethen’s mother testified Friday that the two oldest children were rough with Maddox, telling him he wasn’t their brother. Johnson said she often would scold them for slapping, hitting and punching him when they walked by.

Trefethen had witnessed the abuse from siblings and tried to reprimand them but did not stop the behavior, Johnson said.

Trefethen has six children, four of whom are with her former husband, Jason Trefethen. Jurors heard conflicting accounts Friday about his relationship with Maddox.

Johnson said Jason Trefethen would refer to Maddox using expletives and a slur, or call him “weird.”

But Jason Trefethen told police that he treated Maddox like his own son. He only watched Maddox for short periods when Jessica Trefethen needed to go to the store. When she went to work, her mother would watch the boy. Jason Trefethen watched his children.

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