Augusta woman granted bond in child abuse case

Woman, 26, accused of shaking toddler, causing brain damage

 

 

An Augusta woman held in jail since her April indictment on a charge of cruelty to children was granted a $50,000 bond Wednesday.

Cassey N. Willis, 26, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to causing her 17-­month­-old stepson brain damage.

Willis was home alone with the toddler and her 2-year-old son on Oct. 3, 2015, when she called her ­husband to report something was wrong with her stepson, said Assistant District Attorney Joanna Mastny.

At the hospital, the toddler was found to have bleeding on his brain that physicians believe occurred when the child was shaken violently, Mastny said. After nine days in the intensive care unit, the toddler has recovered, but is still receiving medical treatment, Mastny said. The child, and the daughter Willis delivered since the toddler’s injury, are in the custody of their father and paternal grandparents.

Willis talked to the officer who was to administer a polygraph exam in January but couldn’t because of Willis’ condition. She told her that she was frustrated with both boys that day and shook the 17-month-old in frustration, Mastny said.

The legality of the statement has not been determined yet, said defense attorney Robert MacGregor, but even if it is true and admissible it shows neglect, not malice.

Willis is a high school graduate who attended college and is working. She has taken the parenting classes and mental evaluation ordered by the juvenile court, MacGregor said.

He asked Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. to consider Willis a good candidate for probation based on her clean criminal record, a strong family support system in Augusta, and because when indicted in April she turned herself into the jail.

Brown granted bond. While on bond Willis is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with any child.

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