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When Kathy Davis addressed the court Tuesday on behalf of her granddaughter, Alexis Taylor, 1, she wanted Judge Ken Howard to know she did not agree with the plea offer the child’s father, Shane Jenkins, was offered.
Despite the grandmother’s pleas, Jenkins, 28, was sentenced to five years probation for second-degree criminal abuse of a victim younger than 12 — a Class B felony — and was ordered to pay restitution. He also voluntarily terminated his parental rights as part of the agreement.
“I believe we should have justice for this child,” Davis said. “I don’t agree with what the commonwealth wants to give him. It’s a reward for him.”
According to court records, Jenkins caused a spiral fracture to the left femur of then 1-month-old Alexis on Aug. 17.
When Alexis’ mother, Jennifer Taylor, spoke, she questioned the motive Jenkins had to cause the injury to their daughter.
“I just want to know why?” Taylor questioned through tears. “How could you?”
After the testimony, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Logsdon told the judge she is faced with difficult decisions in every case and she felt the plea agreement, despite the family’s objection, was best for the child, Jenkins and the community.
“From the outset, the family advised they wanted the defendant to give up his parental rights,” she said. “I couldn’t accomplish this without a plea agreement.”
She said the sentence was the maximum, although probated, and the probation was offered to get Jenkins the mental health treatment she thought he needed.
“He’s willing to terminate his parental rights to this child and he’s willing to undergo mental health treatment,” she said.
Before making his ruling, Howard addressed the family to help them understand his decision.
“It’s the commonwealth’s responsibility to review evidence in this case and determine whether it was intentional, wanton or accidental,” he said. “The commonwealth is tasked in determining those things and it makes a great deal of difference in determining criminality.”
He added he didn’t expect the family to understand the legality of the situation.
Howard then accepted the agreement as proposed and said Jenkins’ criminal assessment was the lowest he had seen in seven years on the bench.
Jenkins has completed 28 classes as required by the court and is set to begin parenting classes in September. He also is expected to be assessed for the mental health program in early September.
Gina Clear can be reached at 270-505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.