Parents plead guilty to abusing infant but maintain their innocence
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IDAHO FALLS — Two Idaho Falls parents pleaded guilty in a child abuse case involving a 6-week-old infant.
In July 2019, James Arthur Berry and Amanda Berry, brought their unresponsive 6-week-old daughter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center “with no plausible explanation” of the infant’s severe injuries. The parents were subsequently charged with felony injury to child with infliction of great bodily injury enhancements.
James and Amanda Berry reached plea agreements this morning with the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office. The couple pleaded guilty to two felony counts of injury to child in exchange for a dismissal of the felony enhancement.
The two entered the plea agreements as part of Alford Pleas, meaning they assert their innocence but agree there could be enough evidence for a jury to convict him.
According to court documents, when the Berrys took the baby girl to EIRMC, medical staff told investigators the newborn was under her birth weight and had many fresh and old injuries. Her leg and ribs were broken and she had two skull fractures. Head scans also showed two large pockets of fluid where the temporal lobes of the brain should’ve been, according to court documents.
Doctors told detectives “the voids appeared to be filled with blood and eroded brain matter,” according to court documents.
Initially, both parents denied any involvement in the baby’s injuries; however, during follow up interviews, both James and Amanda Berry said they experienced blackouts and were rough when handling her.
While at the hospital, the child suffered persistent seizures, prompting doctors to place her into a medically induced coma. After about two weeks, the child was stabilized and CPS took custody of the baby, putting her into a foster home.
As the case involves a child, the baby’s current condition remains unknown.
Sentencing for Amanda Berry is set to happen on Jan. 25, 2021. James is set for his change of plea hearing on Sept. 1. Both hearings will occur at the Bonneville County Courthouse before District Judge Dane H. Watkins Jr.