January 15, 2005
Plea entered in child abuse case
January 14, 2005 [Marietta Times]
By Kate York
A Waterford woman pleaded guilty Thursday to child abuse charges that came to light during the investigation of her infant daughter's murder in 2003
Alicia Hanson, 20, of 18189 State Route 339, pleaded guilty to attempted child endangerment, a fourth-degree felony, as part of a plea agreement reached with Washington County prosecutor Jim Schneider. The original second-degree felony charge of felonious assault was thrown out as part of the agreement, as were third-degree charges of perjury.
The charges were all in connection to the murder of Hanson's 2-month-old daughter, Falicia Guidry, who died Nov. 27, 2003, from a blow to the head. Falicia's father, Leopold Patrick Guidry, was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison in August, after telling investigators he struck the child on the head because she was crying during an important part of a movie. He is seeking a new trial on the charge.
Schneider said the plea agreement with Hanson was a way to ensure that she had a felony conviction on her record.
"The felonious assault charge would have been tougher to prove and the perjury charge would have carried a similar punishment to the endangerment," Schneider said. "We wanted to get her for something, and this way we were certain of getting a felony record so that if she's in trouble down the road, the penalty will be stiffer."
Hanson will be sentenced by Washington County Common Pleas Judge Susan Boyer at 8 a.m. March 2 and could receive a maximum of 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The maximum sentence for the original assault charge would have been eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Signs of abuse were discovered by doctors after Falicia was admitted to the hospital with the head injury that killed her. During Guidry's murder trial, Hanson admitted to hitting and shaking her baby.
"The medical professionals who treated and examined her were all convinced the rib injuries they found were several weeks old and not the cause of death," Schneider said. "If a jury had found that she had struck her child but it didn't cause serious harm, we would have lost the felonious assault conviction."
Hanson has been in jail on $50,000 bond since September and will remain there after Thursday's hearing.
She came to court handcuffed, wearing an orange jumpsuit, and spent nearly half an hour before the hearing laughing and talking with her attorney, Nancy Brum.
The plea agreement may be helpful to Guidry in his attempt to get a new trial, said Guidry's attorney, Janet McKim.
Guidry filed a motion for a new trial in August after McKim received a letter from Hanson confessing that she had killed the baby. At a hearing to determine whether Guidry would get a new trial, Hanson then testified that she had not written the letter and did not recognize it.
She was charged with perjury after investigators found evidence in her home that she had sent the letter and recorded phone conversations between Guidry and Hanson while he was in the Washington County Jail included Hanson's confession that she had written the letter.
Guidry's attempt for a new trial will resume once the taped conversations are made into transcripts.
"The (plea agreement) is a bonus for (Guidry)," McKim said Thursday. "While she was facing perjury charges, we couldn't put her back on the stand but now we can. At least now we can find an answer and (Guidry) can get on with his life."
Schneider said the state is not going to pursue murder charges against Hanson unless she confesses again to killing her daughter.
Brum advised Hanson Thursday that she may have to appear in court for Guidry's proceedings.
"I'll be there with you," she told her client before saying emphatically, "but you are going to have to tell the truth."
Posted by Nancy at January 15, 2005 04:33 AM