Mother pleads guilty in toddler’s death

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 8:00pm
Staff reports

Nearly three years after her 31-month-old son died, Aja Westbrooks pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder and aggravated child neglect. She will spend the next 20 years behind bars.

Westbrooks and her live-in boyfriend, Larry Cook, rushed Anthony Westbrooks to the hospital in March 2007. They told authorities he stopped breathing after he fell down the stairs.

But the medical examiner’s office found his injuries to be inconsistent with that explanation.

The child had massive head injuries, a rib fracture and multiple bruises of different ages all over his body. He died a few days later.

A Davidson County grand jury indicted the couple on first-degree murder charges and multiple counts of aggravated child abuse.

Cook pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in April. He is serving a 35-year sentence.

6 Comments on this post:

By: on 2/26/10 at 9:38

what in the world anybody can comment about the lowest of the lowest act made by human call ''mom''

By: BEOWULF on 3/1/10 at 10:42

BEOWULF: Charged w/1st degree murder but allowed to plead to 2nd degree! Now, instead of a pair of potter's graves, the good citizens of TN get to house & feed this pair of murderers for 20/35 years at the cost of $$,$$$$ per year...each? Where's the death penality when it's justified? There has been no justice for the toddler.

By: ROTCMom on 3/1/10 at 11:54


I truly love my adopted state of Tennessee, but there is one law on the books that I would import from my birth state of Virginia - true "Truth in Sentencing". In Virginia, there is no such thing as parole anymore - you get sentenced to 35 years, you serve 35 years. No parole, no "time off for good behavior". The only ways you get out of jail early are death, overturn of your sentence on appeal, and the VERY rare pardon/clemency from the govenor.

Scumbags like these two deserve every second they have been sentenced to.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 3/1/10 at 1:42

ROTCMom, here it is common for someone to serve 30% of their sentence then the rest as probation. is that true in VA?

By: fishfry on 3/1/10 at 8:57

I don't even understand these sentences. What about the suffering of the little boy? He was a human being wasn't he? They should just die! If I had my way, as a parent I would opt for them being killed in the manner they killed the child. But that would be "cruelty" so just give them the shot and be done with it....oh no, we have to keep them in a nice cell, feed them meals, let them email each other, see friends, work out in the gym, get more education, and probably get out in a few years and become part of the repeat offender program. OH GAG!

By: ROTCMom on 3/2/10 at 11:13

Blanket - no, in Virginia what you are sentenced to is what you get. If the judge says 10 years in prison followed by 5 years probation, then you serve exactly that. Now the down side to the truth in sentencing law is that the state has to commit the dollars to keep the prisons up and running, and Va spent a bunch back when the economy was stronger building new prisons to avoid overcrowding. The upside to that was prison related jobs, so there you go....