- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (AP) - A central Pennsylvania woman convicted of abuse that left her 4-year-old stepson with a traumatic brain injury has been sentenced to nine to 20 years in prison.

Michele Hunter, 29, of Chambersburg was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court after being convicted aggravated assault, child endangerment and conspiracy, The (Chambersburg) Public Opinion reported (https://bit.ly/PmiJoB ). She will be credited with the three years she has already spent behind bars.

Prosecutors said Hunter shoved Billy, then 4, to the in March 2011 and failed to seek medical care for a day and a half until he went into cardiac arrest, leaving him in a state that requires constant care.

Hunter took the stand and tearfully denied that she was the cause of the injury but said she should have immediately sought medical care. She said that earlier in her life, she was selfish and narcissistic and was “ashamed of the person I once was.”

“If I could take his place, I would give up my life to give his back,” Hunter said, but added that she planned to appeal the verdict.

Judge Carl Van Horn called her statements an attempt at self-justification and said he agreed with the lead investigator that she seemed “unaware of how truly horrific” her actions had been.

Hunter also said she felt remorse about text messages sent after the boy was injured that belittled his condition, saying she was ashamed that she had “carelessly worded them the way that I did.”

The judge said he didn’t see the messages as reflecting poor word choice but an example of her “horrific conduct” toward the child.

“Ma’am, you’re going to have to truly admit to yourself what you do for you to move forward,” Van Horn said, adding that “even today you cannot focus on Billy in the wheelchair because of your actions.”


Information from: Public Opinion, https://www.publicopiniononline.com

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