Mom gets four years for abusing infant son


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Prosecutors said a woman sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for abusing her son began abusing him almost from the time he came home from the hospital after his birth.

Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin told Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court a son of Alicia Underwood, 22, of Campbell, had fractured ribs that were healing and fractures to his thigh and shins and his mother never did anything to get him treatment until he was examined by a doctor in February, when he was 3 months old.

“This abuse, we believe, started when the baby came home from the hospital,” McLaughlin said. “That’s a lot of abuse for three months.”

Underwood, who was free on bond until her sentencing and is seven months pregnant with twins, apologized in a barely audible voice.

“I committed the crime and I’m sorry,” said Underwood, who has three other children. “I ask for forgiveness.”

McLaughlin said Underwood admitted to investigators from the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, who investigated the case along with county Childrens Services, that she punched the baby in the face and threw him into a crib. Underwood told the investigators she was under stress and suffering postpartum depression, McLaughlin said. She recommended a four-year sentence.

Underwood’s attorney, Ed Hartwig, asked for a two-year sentence. He told the judge his client has no criminal record and she was diagnosed with postpartum depression. Hartwig said that did not excuse her actions, but he said it was an explanation as to how someone who has no criminal record could commit such a crime.

Judge Krichbaum said he found it hard to fathom that a mother would hurt her child like Underwood did. He said she was lucky she accepted a plea bargain because if the case had gone to trial and a jury heard all the facts as well as a judge, she would be looking at a longer sentence.

“I just can’t imagine a mother doing something like this to a child,” Judge Krichbaum said. “It’s unnatural. It’s inexclipable.”

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