CLAYTON — Dawan Ferguson on Tuesday received a sentence of life without parole for the presumed 2003 death of his disabled 9-year-old son.
The mandatory sentence for first-degree murder comes nearly two decades after Ferguson’s son, Christian, vanished in what Ferguson claimed to police — and still maintains — was an abduction in June 2003.
The boy’s body has never been found. Christian had a disorder that prevented his body from processing protein. Without medication, he would have died within 24 to 72 hours. At the time of his disappearance, Christian had lost the ability to walk and talk.
The sentence, handed down by Circuit Judge Brian May, will run consecutively to a life sentence plus 30 years that Ferguson received last week from a different judge for convictions of sexually abusing two children over several years.
On Tuesday, Ferguson read a prepared statement in court for more than 30 minutes, largely blaming his ex-wife Theda Person for both the prosecution for his son’s death and for the child sex case. He also accused the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office of misconduct in bringing the cases against him and has vowed to appeal.
“I am not motivated to say this because I’m trying to affect my sentence, but I do not stand to see how intentionally wrong they’ve got this and for how long Theda has been driving this train,” Ferguson said in court. “I never neglected my son. I love my son. I did not kill or murder my son, and the fact that I’m here today for this only shows how far this injustice has gone.”
Before sentencing, the judge told Ferguson that what struck him about his statement was that he showed no grief over the death of a child. May recalled the recent death of his own family’s dog and said Ferguson “did not have the decency to do what we did for our dog.”
Christian’s death could have been avoided with proper diet and medical care, May said.
“I think Christian could have been a happy little boy,” May said.
In July, a St. Louis County jury found Ferguson, 49, guilty of first-degree murder. Ferguson claimed his son was abducted in St. Louis during Ferguson’s stop at a payphone en route to a hospital for treatment of Christian’s rare medical disorder.
On Tuesday, Person opened and closed her statement in court with a question to her ex-husband: “Dawan Ferguson, what did you do with our child? Where is Christian Ferguson?”
Person on Tuesday called Ferguson a “monster,” a “narcissist” and “a danger to the world” who wasted everyone’s time by pointing fingers elsewhere. She said she knew she wouldn’t get an answer from him about Christian’s whereabouts but said she hopes he’ll think about his actions while he serves the rest of his life in prison.