Mom admits causing brain injuries to infant by shaking


By joe gorman


A woman who was arrested after her baby suffered brain injuries in July entered guilty pleas Wednesday to two counts of child endangering.

Julie Keyes, 28, entered the pleas before Judge Lou D’Apolito in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Assistant Prosecutor Natasha Frenchko said the state will stand silent at sentencing and abide by whatever Judge D’Apolito agrees is an appropriate sentence.

Mark Verkhlin, one of two attorneys for Keyes, asked for a sentence of four years with an option for judicial release after two years.

Judge D’Apolito said he will not make up his mind about sentencing until he learns of the severity of the infant’s injuries and the prognosis for the baby’s future.

Frenchko said she would not release medical information about the baby until sentencing.

Keyes also has a 3-year-old child. Both that child and the one who she pleaded guilty to injuring are in the custody of relatives.

The baby, 4 months old at the time of the incident, was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman on July 9 by his father, then transferred to the Akron campus.

Hospital workers told police the baby’s father told them he was worried about his son after he had received several text messages from Keyes, the baby’s mother, saying she could not handle the baby’s crying, a police report said.

The father then told hospital staff that he went to the Cambridge Street residence on the South Side and found the mother passed out and the baby on the floor, according to the report.

Police were called, and a social worker told an officer it appeared the mother was drunk, reports said.

The officer said he spoke to the mother, who told him she was taking a shower and she placed the baby in a car seat without buckling him in and when she got out of the shower, the boy was out of his seat, reports said.

Hospital staff, however, told the officer the baby had two separate injuries to his brain that could not have come from falling out of a car seat.

The officer who spoke to the mother wrote in his report that she appeared to be under the influence of something and did not understand how serious the injuries to her son were. The officer wrote that her eyes were bloodshot, her speech was slurred and she smelled of alcohol.

A sentencing date has not been set yet.

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