Babysitter Sentenced for Killing 2-Year-Old by Covering His Playpen with a Mattress

Za'khi Williams, 2, died in July 2023 while in the care of Brittany Napier, 32, at a West Virginia home, authorities say

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Za'khi Williams

A West Virginia woman was sentenced to prison for killing a 2-year-old boy she was caring for by covering his playpen with a mattress, authorities said, according to multiple reports.

On Monday, Brittany Napier, 32, was sentenced to one year for involuntary manslaughter and one to five years for gross child neglect after pleading guilty to the charges in February, WSAZ, West Virginia Metro News, and WCHS-TV report, citing authorities.

Napier tearfully apologized in court, telling the family of 2-year-old Za'khi Williams she had “no intention” of hurting the toddler, who died in July 2023.

“On July 11, 2023 I made a horrible mistake," Napier said, according to WCHS-TV. "I will never forgive myself. I'm truly so sorry to the family and everybody who loved Za'khi so dearly. I had no intention of causing any harm to sweet baby Za'khi. If I could trade him places, I would in a heartbeat."

As part of her plea agreement, Napier admitted to putting a queen-size mattress on top of the playpen with the toddler inside, WSAZ reports, citing authorities. According to the outlet, Napier said she had been living in the Dunbar, W. Va., home and looking after the boy for several days before the incident.

WCHS reports Napier told investigators that she placed the mattress on top of the playpen to keep the child contained.

Investigators said Za'khi became pinned in between the mattress and the railing of the playpen, according to WSAZ. The outlet reports that local police responded to the home on July 11, 2023, after a caller reported that the boy was not breathing. Za'khi was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Authorities subsequently arrested Napier on July 17, according to WOWK-TV.

Za'khi’s mother faced Napier in court Monday, saying her “family got ripped apart,” following her son’s death.

“I trusted somebody with his life and I will forever regret that decision,” Caleigh Cheeks said, in part, per WCHS-TV. “My son will never get to grow up like everybody else's kids and go to school and live a life. I'll never be the same again.”

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In addition to her consecutive prison sentences, Judge Kenneth Ballard imposed a 50-year supervision order and prohibited Napier from visiting her children, West Virginia Metro News reports.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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