Shelby Marker of Pendleton will serve three years probation for withholding medical care from her wounded baby. And her former boyfriend, Darby Joe Scott, is prison bound.
Circuit Court Judge Christopher Brauer of the 6th Judicial District sentenced the pair Friday in separate hearings. The Umatilla County District Attorney’s office accused Marker and Scott of withholding care Sept. 10 from Marker’s baby girl, while she suffered from bruises, broken bones and brain damage at their residence in Rieth. Marker last week pleaded guilty to the single count of first-degree criminal mistreatment. Scott waived the right to a jury trial, and Brauer heard the case Tuesday and found Scott guilty.
During the sentencings, Marker, 19, testified she saw bruises on her baby and wanted to take her to a hospital. But twice Scott, 10 years her senior, convinced her if she did the state would take away her baby. Nick Patterson, deputy district attorney, told the court Marker followed bad advice when she shouldn’t have.
“She is guilty of this crime, your honor," Patterson said.
Brauer asked Marker if she wanted to address the court. "I have nothing to say except I want to be able to see my daughter,” she said.
Brauer said it was almost unfathomable a mother wouldn't try to help her child, but she was doing the right thing in taking responsibility. Based on recommendations from her attorney, Thomas Grey, and Patterson, the judge sentenced Marker to three years probation, 160 hours of community service and compelled her to complete a parenting class.
Brauer also told Marker if she wished to see her baby, she will cooperate with state social services.
A contingent of 11 family members and supporters for Marker filled the courtroom, including her father, Gene Marker, who is caring for the baby under the supervision of the Oregon Department of Human Services. Shelby Marker and most of her family stuck around for Scott’s sentencing.
Brauer recounted he determined Scott showed deliberate cruelty to the child during the crime, knew the child was particularly vulnerable and that the degree of harm the baby suffered was significantly greater for the kind of offense.
Patterson asked Brauer to put Scott in prison for three years, four months, plus another year and eight months of post-prison supervision. Patterson said withholding the care from the baby, who was so injured, was “an unforgivable crime.”
Defense attorney Jon Lieuallen challenged the state’s recommendation and asked for a little more than two years. He also questioned Brauer’s determination of deliberate cruelty.
Brauer reminded Lieuallen he questioned a doctor during Scott’s trial, and that doctor listed the visible injuries the baby suffered, including the brain damage and broken bones
"With regard to deliberate cruelty, that speaks volumes," the judge said. He gave Scott the opportunity to speak, but he declined.
Brauer called Scott’s inattention to the child “inexcusable,” and given the findings at trial sentenced Scott per the state’s recommendation. Scott will be eligible for time off for good behavior.
But it will be a while before Scott leaves the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton, for the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections. Before his sentencing, the district attorney’s office arraigned Scott on a charge of perjury. Patterson said he lied about contacting Marker, which also was a violation of the judge’s orders. Scott pleaded not guilty, and Brauer set a pre-trial hearing for that case Jan. 24, 2013.
Contact Phil Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0833.
This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.