An Oklahoma mother and her girlfriend will go to prison for 20 years after they pleaded no contest on Sept. 15 to allegations that they abused a 5-year-old boy so badly that he suffered a host of injuries and had two strokes in the hospital.
The couple, 29-year-old Rachel Jean Stevens and 26-year-old Kayla Ann Jones, were scheduled to start their trial on Sept. 18 but instead accepted a plea deal that also prevents the Muskogee couple from having any contact with the victim, who is Stevens' son, reports Tulsa World.
"It was a conclusion that was carefully discussed with the family," Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge said on Sept. 20, according to Tulsa World.
Police arrested Jones and Stevens and charged them with felony child abuse by injury and child neglect in January 2016 after a clinic sent the boy to a hospital and called police regarding seizures he was suffering and wounds on his face.
The boy reportedly suffered at least two seizures before his mom and step mom took him to the doctor.
Doctors then learned that he was malnourished and had a number of broken bones, notes KOTV.
The women started a GoFundMe page, on which they said that after a fall, the boy began having seizures and picking at his own face. Investigators, though, concluded that the couple had willfully caused his injuries.
The couple reportedly tied him up, put duct tape over his eyes, and locked him in a room by himself, according to Tulsa World. He told police that they hit him with a belt, and officers believe that he had also been hit in the hand with a hammer and kicked so hard in the groin that he bled.
"The nature of the injuries were very severe, but the child is doing very well now in a loving home," said Loge. "He is a completely different child now than when this [case] first came in. He received the most wonderful care and is in a great home right now, and I feel confident that he is going to be OK."
In September 2018, Jones and Stevens are eligible for a judicial review, meaning that a judge could potentially decide to change their sentences at that time.
"Any time you have child abuse or sexual abuse of a minor child, it's always difficult because we're dealing with such an innocent victim," Loge said, according to KOTV.