Guilty pleas made in child abuse case
by Cris Ritchie
HAZARD – A man and his wife on Thursday pleaded guilty in a case alleging child abuse.
Samuel Noble, 24, and 24-year-old Heather Garry were indicted in 2011 on charges of first-degree criminal abuse stemming from an allegation that they directly or by complicity severely injured a two-year-old child.
While in court on Thursday, Noble entered a guilty plea to the charge in exchange for four years of supervised probation. According to the agreement, if he fails to meet the conditions of his probation he could receive an eight-year prison sentence.
Heather Garry also pleaded guilty, though her plea was made to an amended misdemeanor charge of third-degree criminal abuse in exchange for 12 months to serve. As the charge is a misdemeanor, Garry was sentenced on Thursday as well and scheduled to be released this week, as she had already served 12 months prior to her sentencing.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Reed explained her reasoning behind accepting the pleas, noting that the case had major “proof problems,” one being that there were no witnesses to the alleged abuse. A second issue arose because, even though an expert in Louisville who reviewed the child’s medical records had opined that he was a victim of abuse, the child’s regular physician was apparently of the opposite opinion.
“That would lead to a proof problem, in that there would be a local doctor who actually saw the child saying one thing, and then an expert … who never saw the child, but she says the child is a victim of abuse,” Reed noted.
Circuit Judge Bill Engle inquired as to the current condition of the child, who is living with his grandparents. According to those grandparents, the child is now doing well and remains in their custody.
Engle eventually accepted the pleas from both Noble and Garry, and while Garry was sentenced on Thursday, Noble will be sentenced on the felony charge on August 9.
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