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Garland Malcolm receives maximum sentence for child abuse in Cortez


Woman from Pleasant View gets 32 years; child may never recover from injuries

By Colette Czarnecki

Garland Malcolm was sentenced Monday to the maximum term of 32 years in prison for the abuse of her adopted 6-year-old son that resulted in severe head and bodily injuries in January 2022.

“Today, the child injured in this incident received some small amount of justice,” said prosecutor Jeremy Reed, adding that the boy “will never recover from his injuries, and will never regain the life he had.”

“The sentence imposed by the court was appropriate to the crime committed, and justice was served,” Reed said.

Malcolm was convicted July 14 of one charge of child abuse, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury. It is a Class 3 felony.

The investigation of the case began Jan. 6, 2022, when Sgt. Bryan Hill of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office was called to Southwest Memorial Hospital to check on an unconscious juvenile.

There, the boy had been intubated after the discovery of a “large subdural hematoma,” also known as a brain bleed. Medical staff described his head injury as being consistent with that of someone who had been ejected from a motor vehicle or thrown from a horse.

Other injuries he had included tears and hemorrhages in both retinas, a skull fracture and torn ligaments in his neck. Bruising was found on the lower portion of his body.

He was then flown to Colorado Springs’ Children’s Hospital for treatment.

Medical staff said there was no way he injured himself, as Malcolm had claimed. The affidavit obtained by The Journal said his injuries were “diagnostic of child physical abuse and abusive head trauma.”

Chris Veach, of Montezuma County Child Services, interviewed the injured boy’s three other siblings, who described punishments in the Malcolm household. Malcolm and her husband, Roy Malcolm, adopted the three biological siblings in October 2020. They also have a biological child of their own.

The children described their punishments for “being naughty,” saying they had to run laps around the house or the horse pasture when they got in trouble. Interviews also revealed that the children were spanked with a hairbrush and struck by their mother, bloodying their noses.

In July, a Journal reporter spoke with Reed, the deputy district attorney who worked on the case, to learn more about the child’s current condition.

“The child can’t walk, can’t talk and can’t interact with the world in any meaningful way,” Reed said. The child is fed through a nutritional tube and must use a wheelchair. From the medical professional’s testimony, the boy’s injuries aren’t likely to get better, Reed said.

In the news release Monday, Reed acknowledged that the case deeply affected everyone involved, including medical providers, police, court personnel, district attorneys, caretakers, social workers and the jury members. He also thanked Rob Shapiro of the Attorney General Office and DA Christian Champaign of the Sixth Judicial District Attorney’s Office for their assistance.

“I especially thank the members of the jury, who sat through very difficult testimony and photographic evidence, respected and followed their oath, and delivered a just and fair verdict,” Reed said.

2023 Sep 1