BLOUNTVILLE — The state will not seek the death penalty in the murder trial of Megan Boswell, charged in the death of her toddler daughter Evelyn Mae Boswell.

District Attorney General Barry Staubus, 2nd Judicial District, made that announcement in a teleconference court hearing on Friday.

“We have filed a notice to seek a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” Staubus said, noting the aggravating factor to support that punishment is that the victim was a child under 12 years old and the defendant is over the age of 18.

Staubus later told reporters he made the decision not to seek the death penalty after talking with members of Evelyn’s family, reviewing evidence in the case, and based on a past case in which a death sentence was overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

In 1996, a Sullivan County jury convicted Bobby G. Godsey of first-degree felony murder for killing a 7-month-old boy. Staubus assisted in that prosecution, which was led by then-District Attorney General Greeley Wells. Godsey was given the death sentence. In 2001, the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously found Godsey’s death sentence disproportionate when compared to sentences imposed in similar cases and modified Godsey’s sentence to life without parole.

“He was charged with first-degree murder for murdering a child and our only aggravating factor for the death penalty was that the child was under 12 and he was over 18 at the time of the murder — the exact aggravating factor that I cited in this case,” Staubus said. “He had no prior history and the only aggravating factor we had was the child was less than 12 years old. In this case, she was 18 at the time, had no prior record at the time, and the only aggravating factor we had was (Evelyn) was a child less than 12 years old. So, based on those three factors — the fact that I talked to the family, the review of the evidence we have, and because of the Godsey precedent — I believe in this case the appropriate notice was to seek life without parole.”

Boswell, by video from the Sullivan County Jail, asked for permission to address Judge Jim Goodwin to say she had resolved any issues she had had with defense attorney Brad Sproles and was prepared to move forward with him representing her.

Sproles said he continues to wade through the considerable amount of evidence he’s been given by the prosecution to date, under the discovery process of the case, and Staubus told the court he will soon be providing considerably more evidence — some of which could not be available for eight weeks or more because it requires forensic analysis.

Based on that, Judge Jim Goodwin set Boswell’s next court appearance for May 14.

Recommended Videos