BREAKING: Mother convicted of child abuse and murder; boyfriend acquitted of all charges

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PITTSBORO — A jury on Friday found Josalyn Upchurch guilty of child abuse, inflicting serious bodily injury and 1st-degree murder in the 2017 death of her 14-month-old son, De’Andre Cotton, after a six-week trial.
 
Upchurch was sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole after one of the longest criminal trials in Chatham County history.
 
Upchurch's co-defendant and former boyfriend, Ricky Adams, was acquitted on all charges.
 
Cotton was found in Upchurch's apartment at 127 Broadmoor Dr. in Pittsboro after she called paramedics. When first responders arrived, they found the child deceased; reports say he was covered in bruises, particularly around his head and face. An autopsy revealed Cotton’s died from blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen. The report noted the child also suffered from broken ribs and a laceration to the liver.
 
Cotton's family members were present for the duration of the trial. His father, Darius Cotton, was able to provide a victim impact statement to the court, thanking the jury for their service and for the one thing he wanted most: justice for his son.
 
This is a breaking story — updates will be provided as information is made available. 
 
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.

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