ERIE, Pennsylvania – A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to swinging her four-week-old son like a bat to hit her boyfriend, fracturing the infant's skull.
Chytoria Graham, 27, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child in a plea agreement with prosecutors. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years because the child was under age 12. There is no mandatory minimum if the victim is older than 13.
The charges stem from an Oct. 8 incident in which Graham returned from a night of drinking and began arguing with her then-boyfriend, Deangelo Troop, authorities said. The argument turned violent, and Graham grabbed her son Jarron by his feet and swung him, hitting Troop and fracturing the infant's skull in the process. When Graham put the boy down, Troop punched her in the eye, police said. She then called authorities.
At Graham's preliminary hearing in December, paramedic Betty Schau, who treated the baby, recalled that Graham was crying and disheveled when medical crews arrived. She testified that Graham told her, "I swung him. I swung him like a bat."
Graham's previous attorney had said Graham did not use her child as a weapon, that the boy was hurt during a fight between the two adults and that Graham lied to authorities about how the injury occurred to protect her boyfriend.
Her current attorney, public defender Julia Dudics, however, said Tuesday that the choice to plead guilty was Graham's. Dudics declined further comment except to say that Graham had told her she was depressed.
As part of the agreement, two lesser charges were dropped, and the judge ordered she undergo a psychological examination before sentence on May 8.
Jarron, who made a full recovery, and Graham's four other children are currently in the custody of her parents.