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home : news : news November 24, 2017

11/3/2017 3:38:00 AM
Plea Bargain Deal May Be Reversed
Tiffany Cheeks could also get life in prison
Photo Courtesy Gaston County Sheriff's Office
Photo Courtesy Gaston County Sheriff's Office

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

A Superior Court judge sentenced Thomas Allen Cheeks, 30, to life in prison without parole when he was found guilty Wednesday (Nov. 1st) of starving his four-year-old stepson, Malachi Deandre Golden.

The child's mother, 26-year-old Tiffany Danielle Cheeks had earlier entered a guilty plea to felony child abuse and accessory after the fact to murder. She did so in exchange for an eight-year prison sentence.

When he died May 11, 2015, in the High Shoals apartment he shared with his mother, stepfather, and two siblings, Malachi weighed just 19 pounds. The judge said the couple starved the child to death.

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Now Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell says he may charge the mother with murder and also seek a life sentence. Bell said a part of the plea bargain agreement was that she agree to testify against her husband in his trial--but instead, she proclaimed his innocence. 

Malachi had a chromosomal abnormality that caused him to have seizures several times daily. After a lengthy investigation, Gaston County police charged Thomas Cheeks with the murder of the child on November 2, 2015, and he confessed, but he recanted that confession in testimony during his trial. Tiffany Cheeks was arrested the next day. At the time he confessed, Cheeks admitted to striking the child when he had a seizure.

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