Illinois Mother Admits To Stuffing Dead Son Into Garbage Can, Potentially Avoids Prison Time After Plea Deal

(Photo by ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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After pleading guilty to hiding her son’s body in a garbage can, an Illinois mother could potentially avoid prison time depending on the presiding judge’s decision, according to Law&Crime.

Sushi M. Staples, 43, admitted Thursday to one felony count of endangering the health of a child resulting in the death related to her 10-year-old son, Zion Williams, the outlet reported. However, Staples was able to reduce her original charge time, allowing her now to be sentenced to a minimum of probation or a maximum of up to five years within a state correctional center, Law&Crime reported. (RELATED: Georgia Teen Arrested For Alleged Murder Of High School Football Player Before State Finals: REPORT)

Rock Island County public defender Hany Khoury, Staples attorney, and the county’s state attorney Dora Villarreal had agreed to a partially negotiated deal, reducing her charges to a class 3 felony, according to WQAD 8. The three additional charges dropped involved obstruction of justice, failure to report the death of a child, as well as concealment of a death, with an original maximum of up to 10 years in prison, the outlet reported.

The Rock Island Police Department (RIPD) began their investigation into a suspicious death in the area on July 26, 2023 after receiving a tipped phone call to the Illinois Department of Children and Families, Law&Crime reported. During Staples’ hearing, Rock Island police officer John Shappard stated that authorities believed Williams was playing with a handgun before it went off, causing his accidental death, according to The Dispatch-Argus.

The RIPD shortly found Williams’ body stuffed in a trash can which was located inside Staples garage, before she was then arrested, according to Law&Crime. (RELATED: Carjacking Spree Begins With Murdered Mother, Leaves Civilian Dead And Ends With Cops Spraying Bullets Into Stolen Van)

Authorities had noted that testimonies from other children corroborated their story during investigation interviews, emphasizing that they did not believe Staples had been home during the incident, The Dispatch-Argus reported.

After the 10-year-old in the garage, Shappard stated the Illinois mother expressed “several times that she did not have a son,” before finally admitting that she had moved the Williams’ body because she “didn’t want her other four children to locate his body in the basement,” according to Law&Crime. Authorities noted that there had been dryer sheets within “every vent of the house,” which was used likely to mask the smell of the boy’s decaying body, the outlet reported.

Investigators believe that Williams had been deceased for approximately eight months, dying back in December 2022, according to Law&Crime.

“I’ve lost sleep over it and I’ve prayed a lot,” a neighbor of Staples told WQAD 8. “I have to believe that she has done some extra measures to cover up that smell, otherwise nobody could have stood that, nobody.”

The Illinois mother is set to appear for her hearing on Feb. 16 at 1 p.m., according to Law&Crime.