The mother of an autistic child who was abused "from his head to his toe" has been sentenced to serve 42 months in state prison. Her boyfriend, who she said administered the blows, got five years.
Criminal Court Judge Don Poole set the sentences on Thursday afternoon for 23-year-old Tshombe High and 32-year-old Amanda Henley.
Prosecutor AnCharlene Davis said the treatment of the nine-year-old boy "went beyond the realm of exceptional cruelty. It was one of the most violent and horrifying cases" to come before the court.
She said High beat the child with switches, an extension cord and wire hangers and also burned him with the end of a cigarette. She said scars from the latter punishment and the trauma from the experience "will stay with him for a lifetime."
Judge Poole said High "clearly did horrible things to this child." He said the mother stood by and let the abuse go on.
The pair initially were charged with aggravated child abuse, which carries 8-12 years. They were allowed to plead guilty to attempted aggravated child abuse with a lesser punishment of 3-6 years.
Ms. Henley said during the hearing that High also abused her and "controlled every aspect of my life." She said, "I am sorry I wasn't strong enough to protect my son."
She said she finally lied to get out of the house and took the battered child to the Public Library, where she said she knew the child's father would be. When the father saw the child, he immediately took him to the hospital emergency room.
Ms. Henley said when she got home and High found out what had happened "he beat the hell out of me."
Ms. Henley said she has been taking courses while at Silverdale and hopes to eventually be able to be with her three children.
High did not make a statement in court, but in a written statement he said he felt the punishment had made the boy a better child.
Attorney Brandon Raulston said High has already served 18 months. Part of that time, he was in Walker County, Ga., working out some charges there. Ms. Henley said she also had served 18 months.
Attorney Hilary Hodgkins said Ms. Henley had long suffered from mental issues and drug addiction. She began using marijuana when she was 12 and went on to cocaine and meth, it was stated.
Prosecutor Davis said Ms. Henley had 19 prior misdemeanor arrests and High had acquired four felonies by the time he was 20.
However, both were pled out as range one standard offenders, who are eligible for parole consideration after serving 30 percent of the term.