A local mother was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison for battering her infant daughter in December of 2002. Amy Jackson, of Brazil, was found guilty of Battery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class C felony, in her Clay Circuit Court trial.
According to the probable cause statement, Jackson said on Dec. 22, 2002, her two-month-old baby, Madison, was extremely fussy. Suffering from post partum depression, Jackson felt stressed and was angry at her husband for going out with friends rather than helping her with the baby.
She admitted that she laid Madison down roughly when she changed her diaper. After the diaper change, Jackson said she put Madison in the crib and kind of shook her. Madison was crying when Jackson left the room.
On Dec. 24, 2002, Jackson realized that Madison's left leg was shaking and took her to the emergency room at Union Hospital. She was transferred to Riley Hospital Dec. 25 with a fractured skull, retinal hemorrhage and inter- cranial bleeding. The case was reported to the Clay County Division of Family and Children and a possible child abuse investigation ensued.
During the trail, testimony given by a Riley doctor said that shaking the baby had the effects of dropping the child from a second story window.
At the sentencing Dr. Hans Andreasen said he'd treated Amy Jackson since 1999. He believes she suffered from anxiety, depression and post partum depression. He started treating her with appropriate medication Jan. 2003.
Andreasen indicated that Madison's birth had been a difficult one, resulting in the child being kept in the neonatal intensive care unit for eight days with respiratory problems. The doctor felt that interfered with the mother being able to bond with her infant. He thought Jackson was a kind, caring mother who, partly due to her mental condition, was overwhelmed as a first time parent.
"I really believe this was unintentional," Dr. Andreasen said to Judge Ernest Yelton. "I don't think at the time that she thought she was hurting her baby."
Both Andreasen and a Hamilton Center employee, Leah Powell, testified that Jackson showed classic signs of major depression with a flat affect. A flat affect is classified by a patient who is unable to show emotion and presents a usual blank facial expression.
Jackson, who is now pregnant with a second child due in May even though she used birth control, is continuing treatment and counseling. Andreasen and Powell said Jackson was complying with prescribed treatment and showing improvement. They thought incarceration would interfere with her continuity of care. They did not think Jackson would be a threat to Madison or her unborn child.
Jackson took the stand in her own defense. "I didn't mean to hurt my daughter," she said very softly. "I'm sorry that I did it. I intend to continue with therapy so this won't happen again. I do love my daughter and am very excited about my unborn child."
After considering the pre-sentence investigation report, testimony of witnesses and statements of counsel, Judge Yelton handed out the sentence. Jackson was sentenced to the Indian Department of Correction for the presumptive term of four years.
The judge gave aggravating circumstances of 1. The victim was less than twelve years of age. 2. The injuries to the child were of the result of statutory referral of shaken baby syndrome. The judge said the imposition of a suspended sentence would depreciate the very seriousness of the crime and the life-threatening injuries to the victim.
Mitigating circumstances were then given. 1. Jackson has very favorably responded to the Office of Family and Children in its efforts to reunify the family in it's petition alleging that Madison was a child in need of services. 2. The defendant has voluntarily sought therapeutic assistance and has complied with the recommendation of her therapist and is responding favorably to such therapy. 3. Jackson has no previous criminal record.
The Court found that the mitigating circumstances outweighed the aggravating circumstance and suspended two years of the sentence.
Jackson was given credit for one day served and will be eligible for good time credit if earned. She could be released from jail in about 364 days.
Jackson was placed on probation for a two year period after time served. She must also pay fines and fees and continue her personal and marital therapy until discharged by the therapist.
After the sentence was rendered, Jackson showed little emotion but when answering a question directed to her regarding a possible appeal her voice cracked as she answered. She plans to appeal.
Since the injury, Madison Jackson has been a ward of the court and resides with a maternal family member. Jackson had been allowed some overnights and daytime visitation with her daughter as long as the entire visits were supervised by her husband Scott.
Dr. Andreasen said medical records indicated Madison's recovery was good. However, a final prognosis is undetermined at this time.