Adrianna Elaine Hutto was seven years old at the time of the case and lived in Esto, Florida. On August 8, 2007, Amanda Lewis made a desperate call to 911 reporting that her daughter had fallen into the pool and was not breathing.
Amanda Lewis was raising her two children alone, seven-year-old Adrianna Hutto and her half-brother AJ, who was six years old. The town where the family lived was really small, with about 400 inhabitants.
According to the mother, Adrianna was a very happy child and had many similarities to her. AJ, on the other hand, was more introverted and hardly caused any trouble. He could play alone for hours while the girl liked to draw attention to herself.
Amanda worked as a nursing assistant at a local hospital. On August 8, 2007, she returned home after her shift and decided to take a nap while the children watched television.
Amanda Lewis’ Version
According to her, it was a very hot day and the children wanted to get into the pool. Amanda didn’t allow it since they were going out soon to buy the siblings’ school supplies.
She allows them to play in the backyard instead. Minutes later, AJ comes to her and says that Adrianna was in the pool. She immediately understands that the girl was playing too close to the water and tells AJ to tell her to stay away.
Moments later, she looks out the window and sees AJ at the edge of the pool with his hand inside. It is then that she rushes over and finds Adrianna floating with her face in the water. She pulls the girl’s body out, notices that her skin is bluish and that the child is unconscious.
A call is made to 911, where the mother asks for help and immediate assistance. A few minutes later, the firefighters enter the residence and find Amanda leaning over her daughter’s body.
The team tries resuscitation, but minutes later, they decide to transport the girl to the hospital. There, they try to revive her again for about an hour, but unfortunately, Adrianna does not survive.
At the moment, the police conclusion was that Adrianna leaned over the edge of the pool intending to touch the water or even play with the insects that were there and ended up falling since the ladder was stored in the garage.
After falling, she would have hit her head on the bottom of the pool and drowned.
AJ Witnessed Everything
The case was considered solved until AJ’s foster grandfather contacted the police, saying that the boy had told him a different version.
The boy was taken to the police station and told the officers that Adrianna was playing with cleaning products, which angered their mother. In a fit of rage, she picked up the girl and put her in the pool.
According to AJ, at that moment, his sister started screaming because she was afraid of water. In an attempt to silence the screams, the mother held the girl’s face underwater, pressing her fingers forcefully on her forehead and cheeks using the palm of her hand.
When questioned again by the police, AJ gave inconsistent answers. When asked if he had really seen everything, AJ said: “No, because if I saw everything, I would be in trouble.” And moments later, he reaffirmed that he was present at the scene the whole time.
Unsure Whom to Believe
Given the boy’s testimony, the police needed to further investigate Amanda Lewis’ story. It was discovered that she and Adrianna had always had a troubled relationship. The girl had been diagnosed with ADHD and had difficulties at school, while AJ was a calm child and much easier to handle.
When the police went to check the family’s house, they noticed that there were no toys in the place, which was quite strange in a house with two children. The beds had no sheets, and there was a strong smell of urine in the siblings’ room.
Amanda told the police that they had been misbehaving, and that’s why she removed all the toys and stored them in the garage as a form of punishment. However, when they checked the garage, no toys were found. Amanda was lying.
The house overall was dirty and messy, with leftover food in the kitchen and used clothes on the floor.
The doctor who attended to Adrianna at the hospital informed the police that when she learned of the girl’s death, the mother showed no reaction at all. She didn’t seem like the same person who was desperate on the phone during the 911 call. Amanda underwent a polygraph test, and she passed, but the police were not satisfied.
It was also discovered that Adrianna was not the first child Amanda had lost. During her adolescence, she became pregnant and gave birth to a boy named Alex. When the boy was one year and four months old, Amanda claimed that she left him on the bed, and a few seconds later, when she came back, he was already on the floor and not breathing. The autopsy at the time revealed that the baby had had a seizure and died as a result.
The police suspicions only grew stronger.
Arrested and Charged with Murder
In September 2007, Amanda Lewis was arrested and charged with first-degree murder of Adrianna Hutto. She was offered a plea deal that would have required her to plead guilty to manslaughter and receive a ten-year sentence, but she refused and opted to go to trial.
Amanda went to trial in February 2008, where several pieces of evidence were presented, and the prosecution’s case included the live testimony of young AJ, now 7 years old.
He took the witness stand, took the oath, and at first didn’t notice his mother’s presence among so many people. AJ recounted everything he saw that day, and when the judge told him that his mother was present, he started crying.
The boy brought a drawing to the court, explaining in detail everything he had witnessed on the day of his sister’s death. However, the jury, faced with the testimony of a child, decided not to fully rely on this testimony, and that’s when other people gave their statements.
Amanda’s mother, Adrianna’s grandmother, confirmed that the girl had a fear of water. Amanda’s coworkers testified about her fits of rage and hateful words she allegedly said about her daughter, even claiming that she would kill her.
The prosecution also pointed out several bruises on Adrianna’s forehead that correlated with AJ’s testimony. Four days after the case went to trial and after only two hours of deliberation, the jury found Amanda Lewis guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.
In March of the same year, Lewis was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. She remains in prison to this day.
AJ was adopted by a new family, his school performance improved, and despite not forgetting what happened to his sister, he was finally able to lead a happy life like a normal child.