Mallett manslaughter trial underway in Vicksburg

Published 11:43 am Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The trial of Brooke Mallett, the mother accused of manslaughter in the death of her 3-year-old son Kaiden Mallett, began Monday in Vicksburg.

Mallet is facing charges of manslaughter and culpable negligence in the child’s death, which occurred in April 2023. She initially faced a charge of murder – along with boyfriend John Duke Walker – before both suspects saw their charges decreased to manslaughter by a Grand Jury.

A jury of nine women and three men was seated Monday, with two alternates. Testimony began Monday afternoon.

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Mallett appeared in court with her attorney Alton Peterson. District Attorney Ricky Smith made opening arguments. Peterson declined to make an opening argument. Mallet, dressed in jeans and a tank top, watched the proceedings quietly.

The first witness, Lynne Cox, testified that she was lying on the couch in her home on the morning of April 21, 2023, when she heard a noise and turned to see a young child standing in her home. The child, later identified as the older sibling of Kaiden Mallet, was disheveled, dirty and had bug bites on his arms and face, Cox testified.

According to the indictment filed in August, Mallett’s young children, ages 3 and 5, walked away from their home. At the time of the incident, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said the children were gone for “what appeared to be hours without the mother and boyfriend knowing.”

Cox testified that when she attempted to ask the older child questions, she was unable to get him to state his name or where his parents lived, and suspected he was autistic. She called 911 and Warren County sheriff’s deputies and Child Protective Services responded to her home.

Unable to determine who the child was, the deputies began canvassing the neighborhood, including K-9 assistance with Warren County Deputy Dusty Keyes, according to testimony. Their search eventually led them to a home that appeared unoccupied.

According to testimony from Keyes, deputies found the door to the home ajar, and announced the presence of law enforcement before looking inside, where Mallett and Walker were found asleep on a mattress on the floor.

When asked by deputies if she had a young child, Mallett replied she had two. This led to the search for the missing second child, who was eventually located deceased in a pond near Memory Lane.

Jurors were shown body camera footage of Keyes attempting to communicate with the older child and, later, drone footage of the aerial search and subsequent location of the deceased child.

The second day of trial is currently underway in Vicksburg.