Jared Michael McAbee was sentenced to 25 years incarceration after a plea to first-degree child abuse of a 6-month-old infant last year.
McAbee, 24, formerly of the unit block of Shamrock Circle in Westminster, took an Alford plea Friday, Sept. 27 in Carroll County Circuit Court. He pleaded to the felony charges of first-degree child abuse and two counts of second-degree child abuse.
Judge Maria L. Oesterreicher imposed the maximum 25-year sentence for the charge of first-degree child abuse. The judge also sentenced McAbee to 10 years for one count of second-degree child abuse and 15 for the other but those sentences were suspended.
An Alford plea functions as a guilty pea in Maryland courts, but allows defendants to continue to assert their innocence. Five years of probation will follow McAbee’s incarceration and he will be restricted from contact with the victims or other minors.
According to electronic court records, McAbee’s attorney is William Welch III. Attempts to reach Welch on Monday were unsuccessful.
According to a news release from the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s office, the victims were an 8-month-old and a 2-year old. McAbee called 911 for the infant who was limp and unresponsive on Aug. 15, 2018. McAbee lived with the children’s mother and was tasked with caring for them while she was at work.
The baby, who survived, was diagnosed with significant head trauma, according to the news release.
According to the statement, McAbee told investigators he had likely caused the injury. After bottle feeding, the child would not stop crying, he said, and while burping the child, McAbee began to strike the infant’s back, causing the head to be thrown back and forth.
He also said he had intentionally yanked on the straps to the child’s car seat while buckling it and had pushed the child’s face into his chest when the baby would not stop crying while the baby was under his care. The Carroll County Advocacy and Investigation Center first began investigating the alleged abuse on Aug. 9, 2018 when an investigator responded to Carroll Hospital after injuries to the child caused emergency department staff concern over possible abuse, according to the statement.
According to the release, the investigation and prosecution of this case was a combined effort of the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office Special Victims Unit, members of the Carroll County Advocacy and Investigation Center, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police.
Krista Johnson, the child’s mother, was also indicted on first-degree child abuse charges. As of Sept. 30, a jury trial for Johnson was scheduled to begin April 20 of 2020, according to electronic court records.