Sandy Springs, Ga. – A local couple is facing charges of child cruelty and felony murder in the death of a toddler. This case has made national headlines as the woman involved has been reported as the toddler's babysitter and the close friend of the toddler's mother.
According to reports, the toddler was brought to a local hospital after being reported as non-responsive. Doctors discovered that the baby had sustained a skull fracture along with multiple internal injuries on December 10th. The baby ended up passing away at the hospital in the care of doctors and nurses in the ICU.
Medical examiners determined that cause of death was “homicide by blunt force trauma.” The woman involved has been charged with first-degree child cruelty and felony murder while her boyfriend has been charged with second-degree child cruelty and felony murder.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will focus on the crime of child cruelty as it is written in the state of Georgia. Both are facing felony murder charges as the underlying child cruelty charges are what led to the death of the toddler. The woman is facing first-degree child cruelty as she has been accused of beating the toddler while her boyfriend has been charged with second-degree child cruelty as he did nothing to stop the abuse and was allegedly witness to the entire incident. The two have been booked into the Fulton County Jail without bond.
Child Cruelty in Georgia
Cruelty to Children in Georgia is separated into three different degrees by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-5-70.
First-degree cruelty to children occurs when a parent, guardian, or other person supervising a child under the age of 18 willfully deprives the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the child's well being is jeopardized. In addition, cruelty to children in the first degree includes when a person maliciously causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.
Second-degree cruelty to children occurs when a person with criminal negligence causes a child less than 18 years old cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.
Third-degree cruelty to children occurs when either a person, who is the primary aggressor, intentionally allows a child under the age of 18 to witness the commission of a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery; or a person, who is the primary aggressor, having knowledge that a child under the age of 18 is present and sees or hears the act, commits a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery.
Cruelty to children is considered a felony in Georgia. The penalty can include up to twenty years in prison. The only exception is with third degree child cruelty - a judge has the discretion with this degree to charge it as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
The charges faced by the couple are very serious but the reality in any criminal situation is that there are two sides to every story. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime in the State of Georgia, call our offices today.