Woman pleads guilty to abusing great-grandson

March 17, 2004|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A West Baltimore woman who police say shoved a rattail comb into her infant great-grandson's throat, then wrapped a shoestring around his neck, pleaded guilty to child abuse yesterday in city Circuit Court.

Hilda Patterson, 63, has been held in jail since the Aug. 17 incident, which left 8-month-old Shelton Miller in critical condition for several days.

She could receive up to 15 years in prison and will be sentenced May 21 after a court-ordered presentence investigation.

Patterson told police that she drank a half-pint of whiskey in the hours before Shelton was discovered wounded and bleeding on the street.

Family members said in an interview before yesterday's hearing that Patterson drank alcohol "all the time," but would regularly care for her six children, 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. "She helped to raise all of them," said Juanita Jones, Patterson's cousin.

Shelton, now 13 months old, was found at 6 a.m., moaning on the street in front of Patterson's home in the 1400 block of Mountmor Court.

He was bleeding from his nose and mouth and wearing only a diaper, according to a statement of facts read in court yesterday by prosecutor Julie Drake.

The comb was sticking out of his mouth and the string wrapped around his neck twice, Drake said. Passers-by unwrapped the string, removed the comb and told a neighbor to call 911, the prosecutor said.

Shelton was taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where he was placed on a ventilator.

The baby has fully recovered and was in the courtroom yesterday with his mother, Diertra Golder, 24.

Golder said she frequently left her son in Patterson's care.

"I don't think she would hurt him on purpose," said Golder, who has three children.

Judge John M. Glynn, who accepted Patterson's plea, asked the prosecutor if the state was "taking any action in respect to the well-being of the child."

Drake said that Shelton is living with his mother. Drake added that she would check on his welfare.

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