HomeNewsCrime & CourtsFather of injured infant pleads to reduced charges

Father of injured infant pleads to reduced charges

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A 23-year-old Augusta man accused of child abuse along with the mother of a 3-month-old injured infant pleaded guilty Wednesday, Nov. 23.

The prosecutor recommended a probation term for Zeric Wideman on his guilty plea in Richmond County Superior Court to a single charge of cruelty to children. The plea was based on the fact Wideman acknowledge he realized something was wrong with his infant son in December 2019 but delayed in getting medical treatment, said Assistant District Attorney Sarah Strickland.

The baby’s mother, Kastarra Lawrence was killed in a vehicle crash in New Jersey on April 19. Strickland said there was evidence that Lawrence suffered from depression and emotional instability when she and Wideman took the baby to the hospital in December 2019. Lawrence was the main caregiver as Wideman worked long hours, Strickland said.

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At the hospital, doctors diagnosed the baby with retinal hemorrhaging and bleeding on the brain. They suspected child abuse. Lawrence and Wideman both said the baby was kicked in the head by his 2-year-old brother days earlier.

Defense attorney Dan Franck said Wednesday that Wideman has adhered strictly to the no-contact provision of his probation and has stayed away from his son who was placed with Wideman’s grandmother. He does contribute to the baby’s support, Franck said. Wideman has also maintained steady employment, legitimized his son and completed parenting classes, Franck said.

Chief Judge Daniel J. Craig accepted the negotiated plea and sentenced Wideman to five years on probation under the First Offender Act. He must sign up for child support, maintain employment and, for the next two years, undergo drug testing. While on probation, he cannot seek custody of his son, but he can visit or live with the child, Craig said.

Sandy Hodson is a staff reporter covering courts for The Augusta Press. Reach her at sandy@theaugustapress.com. 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. What is wrong with our justice system ? Are we just waiting for him to kill the child before serious jail time is required of him ? Do we as a society not value the life of this child ? Are we in the road to making it legal to kill children after they are born if they are an inconvenience ?

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