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Aberdeen woman sentenced to 25 years for beating 9-month old daughter

An Aberdeen woman received a 25-year prison sentence Thursday for the severe beating of her infant daughter in 2012.

In January, a Harford County jury found Kayla Marie Barker, 25, guilty of first-degree child abuse and neglecting a minor. She was sentenced by Harford Circuit Court Judge Stephen M. Waldron.

Police investigations and subsequent testimony at her trial disclosed Barker, then 23, had repeatedly beaten her 9-month-old daughter in May 2012 because the child would not stop crying.

The child, who police said at the time had suffered multiple skull fractures, was treated at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air and then transferred to the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Baltimore because of the severity of her injuries.

Barker had delayed taking the child to the hospital for several hours to avoid being questioned by Child Protective Services investigators, which resulted in the additional conviction for neglect of a minor, Harford State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly said in a news release announcing Thursday's sentencing. For that offense, Waldron imposed a five-year sentence to run concurrently with the 25 years for first-degree child abuse.

A paternal aunt, who has custody of the child, spoke at the sentencing hearing, Cassilly's news release states, advising the court that the child, now 2 years old, has developmental and behavioral problems as a result of the abuse.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy State's Attorney Diana A. Brooks and investigated by the Harford County Child Advocacy Center. Harford County Sheriff's Office Detective Carey Gerres was the lead investigator, assisted by Detective Joe Dugan.

During a District Court bail hearing shortly after her arrest, a public defender representing Barker told the court she was unmarried and the mother of two children, a 3-year-old and the infant she was accused of beating.

Barker has been jailed without bail since her arrest.

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