Woman pleads guilty in shaken baby case

Relates to:
Date: 2009-05-29

Jennifer Meyer

MUSCATINE, Iowa — A former Muscatine woman pleaded guilty Friday to shaking her adopted 2-month-old son in September 2007.

Melanie Addington, 31, sobbed after she quietly answered “guilty” to a reduced charge of child endangerment causing injury, a Class D felony.

She was originally charged with child endangerment causing serious injury, a Class C felony.

Her attorney John Wunder asked Addington to confirm a confession she made to police that she shook the boy at her apartment on Sept. 5, 2007, while he was wrapped in a blanket and then threw him into a bouncy chair.

“I’m sorry,” she cried.

Wunder spoke in lieu of having Addington describe the abuse in her own words because “she’s carrying enormous guilt for what brings us here today.”

Addington told District Court Judge Paul L. Macek she is taking an antidepressant and medication to help her sleep.

During Friday’s hearing, her shoulders shook as she wept and she wiped away tears while sitting slumped forward in her chair.

Doctors initially believed the boy, Tyler, suffered permanent brain injury from the abuse.

“Since then, he has for the most part recovered from those injuries,” Wunder said.

More information on Tyler’s condition will be presented at Addington’s sentencing hearing at 9:30 a.m. Friday, July 10, said Assistant Muscatine County Attorney Dana Christiansen.

Christiansen confirmed Tyler’s “physical condition is far better” than when the charges against Addington were filed.

She faces up to five years in prison and $7,500 fines. Her plea agreement will allow her to request a suspended prison sentence.

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