Onawa Murder Trial Begins

(ONAWA, IA) The murder trial for the mother accused of drowning her 15 month old baby... is underway tonight. Ashley Cameron's son died in the bathtub of her Onawa, Iowa, home in February 2012.

Now a judge, not a jury, will decide her fate.

When asked the manner of death of 15-month old Markis Dahms, Dr. Dennis Klein, the State Medical responded assertively.


State prosecutors paint a grim picture of 25-year-old Ashley Cameron telling the judge they believe she held her 15-month old baby, Markis Dahms, under a running faucet in the bathtub of their home. The State medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Markis agreed he drowned. Klein came to that conclusion after finding more than a cup of water in his body.

"We see proportionally there can be fluid in the stomach associated with drowning but it's not that much as what we saw here proportionally," says Klein.

But Cameron's attorney paints an entirely different picture. The Medical examiner found evidence of a brain injury and hemorrhaging.

"The fact that there were these old injuries and old scarring in the brain that is a possible source of a seizure," says Klein.

Cameron's attorney says that's a possible reason for Markis's death but the medical examiner says there is no way to determine if he had a seizure disorder and ruled it out as the cause of death.

Prosecutors described the number of times Cameron changed her story. At one point Cameron told police that her daughter, who was also in the bathroom, may have had something to do with Markis's death.

"Mechanically the story she was explaining did not make sense. At that point in time, she introduced another line or a new version to which she said she was pouring cups over him," says Daniel Dawson, Special Agent for the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations.

Police testified Cameron also told them that her son slipped under the water and because he was so slippery she couldn't pick him up for two to three minutes.

The trial will continue during the week. The judge anticipates reaching his verdict by Friday.

Ashley Cameron's trial resumes tomorrow morning.