Office of the DeKalb County District Attorney

Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit

Sherry Boston, District Attorney

DECATUR MOTHER SENTENCED TO LIFE PLUS 20 YEARS AFTER MURDER CONVICTION IN DEATH OF FOUR-YEAR-OLD SON

July 1, 2024

State v. Malisha Sasfras

Decatur, Ga.- A Decatur woman convicted of child abuse that led to the death of her young son has been sentenced to spend decades in prison.  

On May 17, 2024, jurors found Malisha Sasfras, 26, guilty on charges of Felony Murder, three counts of Cruelty to Children in the First Degree and two counts of Aggravated Battery stemming from the death of her four-year-old on February 11, 2023.  

On Friday, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Tangela Barrie, who presided over the trial, sentenced Defendant Sasfras to Life plus 20 years in confinement.  

According to the investigation, at around 4:30 p.m. paramedics responded to a call about an unresponsive child at an apartment in the 2100 block of Candler Road in unincorporated Decatur.  First responders transported the boy to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) where he was pronounced dead.  

Defendant Sasfras told responding officers that her son had a headache that morning and went back to bed.  That afternoon, Defendant Sasfras said one of her other children noticed the four-year-old would not wake up and was cold to the touch.  Defendant Sasfras tried to wake the boy up by pouring water into his mouth and then called her son’s father, Co-Defendant Javonte Harris, who convinced her to call 911.  

Doctors and nurses at CHOA found extensive injuries on the boy’s body.  He had multiple scars and bruises in different stages of healing, which indicated they happened over time.  Some of the injuries were patterned in the shape of a belt or cord.  The boy also had a scar around his neck that appeared to be a ligature mark, as well as blisters around his wrists, as if his hands had been bound.  The four-year-old also had a severe injury to his face.  

An autopsy by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed the boy had died from blunt force trauma to the head, an injury they determined had likely happened six to eight hours before he died.  

Defendant Sasfras was the only adult home during that time period, but claimed she did not know how the little boy received the facial injury.  While she admitted to “whooping” her children sometimes, she did not provide any explanation for the multiple other injuries on her son’s body.  Investigators obtained social media messages between Defendant Sasfras and Defendant Harris in which she repeatedly discussed beating the four-year-old because he was wetting his bed or having accidents during the day.  

The case against Defendant Harris is still pending.  On May 9, 2023, a DeKalb County Grand Jury indicted Harris on charges of Murder in the Second Degree and Cruelty to Children in the Second Degree.  

The case, assigned to the Sexual Exploitation and Crimes Against Children Unit, was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Charles Ciba with assistance from Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Coveney, District Attorney Investigator Camella Mungroo-Patterson, and Victim Advocate Tess Balles.  DeKalb County Police Department Det. Panosian led the initial investigation.