Man pleads guilty in child abuse case
A man accused of inflicting serious injuries on his girlfriend’s two-year-old son in September of 2010 entered a guilty plea in the case to avoid going to trial, officials said.
Richard Edward Agee Jr., 24, 275 Willingham Road, Tuscumbia, pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse and agreed to a 15-year sentence split with 21 months to serve followed by five years probation, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said.
Rushing said Agee’s case was scheduled to go to trial on Tuesday but they reached a settlement during a pre-trial conference last week.
Rushing said the mother of the child agreed to the settlement before it was final.
“We went over the options with the victim’s mother and she approved the final offer of aggravated child abuse,” Rushing said.
“There were a lot of issues as to what actually caused the injuries to the child but we were confident the defendant was responsible.”
According to reports, Agee was originally indicted for aggravated child abuse and attempted murder following a Sept. 27, 2010, incident when Agee was reportedly babysitting his girlfriend’s two-year-old son.
According to authorities, Agee was accused of shaking the child so severely that he became unresponsive and paramedics had to respond to the residence.
Medical personnel at the time reportedly stated that the severe head injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
Officials said the child was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham where he was placed on a ventilator for several weeks.
Agee denied the allegations at the time of his arrest and said that he was watching the child while the child’s mother was at work. He said the child was watching T.V. on the couch and when he got up to go to the door, he noticed the child was slumped over and not breathing.
Medical personnel said the child’s injuries could have only been sustained from a violent shaking, which is why Rushing said he was determined for Agee to spend time in prison.
“We hope the prison time Mr. Agee received in this case will send the message that those who abuse defenseless children will suffer the consequences for those actions,” Rushing said.