Mother sentenced to 6 years in fatal beating of son

February 24, 2005|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

An East Baltimore woman who pleaded guilty to fatally beating her 20-month-old son was sentenced yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court to six years in prison.

Camille Marie Bivins and her boyfriend, Timothy Horne, both were charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death in the killing of Messiah Wright more than two years ago.

Bivins, 25, pleaded guilty in September to child abuse resulting in death. Judge Roger W. Brown sentenced her yesterday to a 10-year prison term and suspended all but six years.

Brown said during sentencing that he didn't believe that Bivins was the killer. The judge said he believed Horne, 34, was beating the toddler and Bivins committed child abuse by neglecting to intervene.

Murder charges against Horne were dismissed last week by Judge David Mitchell, who said the man's constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated.

The city state's attorney's office plans to appeal Mitchell's decision, a spokeswoman said.

Messiah was found unconscious in October 2002 in the couple's apartment on Daywalt Avenue. Medical examiners determined that Messiah had "chronic and acute injuries" that included brain damage, according to charging documents.

Bivins and Horne were arrested in April 2003 and indicted a month later. Prosecutors severed the cases, and both were delayed numerous times.

But Mitchell ruled after a hearing Feb. 15 that prosecutors inappropriately postponed Horne's trial without giving his defense lawyer proper notice.

Prosecutors changed Bivins' trial date to Sept. 29 from Oct. 12 when they learned an expert witness would not be available to testify, but they did not similarly change Horne's court appearance.

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