EXCLUSIVE: Mother of slain Alabama toddler speaks about killer’s conviction

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 8:22 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - After a five-year battle, a River Region family has justice in the murder of their 2-year-old daughter.

57-year-old Pamella Shelton of Wetumpka has been found guilty of killing her 2-year-old step-granddaughter, Rosalie Rawls. An Elmore County jury convicted Shelton on one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated child abuse.

“I never thought that she’d be evil enough to do this to a child,” said Rosalie’s mother, Quneshia Rawls. “I’m happy that now she’s not walking free. It won’t bring my daughter back, but at least now, it’s like a type of closure for me and my family.”

In July 2017, Rawls said she dropped off Rosalie at her father’s home in Wetumpka to be looked after for a few days. Upon returning to pick her child up, she received a terrifying call.

“My dad’s second wife, her name’s Pamella Shelton, and her daughter’s name was Marchetta. Marchetta was the first person who started speaking. She told me that Rose was having a seizure,” Rawls said.

Rawls said the toddler was rushed to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham where she was later pronounced brain dead. Rosalie passed away on July 20, 2017.

According to Chief Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson, expert testimony at trial showed Rosalie died of extensive head injuries that could only be caused by violently shaking and slamming her head against a hard surface. Rawls’ mother said the seizures were caused by a lack of oxygen to her brain due to swelling.

“I never thought that she’d be evil enough to do this to a child,” said Rosalie’s mother...
“I never thought that she’d be evil enough to do this to a child,” said Rosalie’s mother Quneshia Rawls.(Quneshia Rawls)

“The child’s brain was just completely obliterated, just for nothing,” Robinson said. “We believe that it was just frustration that pent up, and let’s just call it what it is, it was an evil act.”

Rawls said Shelton showed no remorse in court.

“(Shelton) sat through the coroner showing gruesome pictures that I couldn’t even stomach and sit through myself. She sat through pictures of the abuse specialist showing my daughter at the hospital. Just sat through it with a straight face. No emotion, no tears,” Rawls said. “Her lawyer is the only one whose spoken for her, and her lawyer says that she says she’s innocent.”

Marchetta Brown and Pamella Shelton were the only adults home at the time of the incident, according to Robinson.

Justice for Rosalie’s family took five years because of a mistrial in 2019 due to a procedural violation. Then trial was put on hold again after Brown, who was present at the home, failed to show up as a key witness in court.

Circuit Judge Bill Lewis revoked Shelton’s bond after the verdict was handed down.

Sentencing will be on Aug. 31. Felony murder and aggravated child abuse are both class A felonies with a punishment range of 10-99 years or life.

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