Sentencing in child abuse case delayed

Posted: February 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Jennifer Stephenson, 21, and her lawyer, Sydney West, react after the verdict is read in Judge Michael Vigil's courtroom on Wednesday. (Natalie Guillen/The New Mexican)

A Santa Fe woman convicted Wednesday of child abandonment resulting in great bodily harm will have to wait two more weeks to learn her fate.

Friday’s sentencing hearing for 21-year-old Jennifer Stephenson was postponed until March 4 to give attorneys for the state and defense an opportunity to review previously sealed psychiatric and substance-abuse addiction reports on both Stephenson and the father of the boy whose January 2010 injuries led to criminal charges against the couple.

The previously sealed files that both parents consented to opening for attorneys are part of a state Children, Youth and Families Department investigation into the couple and the placement of their two children, including the boy injured last year.

Jurors earlier this week ruled that Stephenson was criminally negligent in not checking on her son, then 2-year-old Isaiah Apodaca, after a 112-pound dresser fell on him in January 2010. Experts say the dresser was on the boy overnight for an estimated six to 12 hours. Stephenson maintains she never heard crying or a crash of the dresser while in another room of her southwest Santa Fe apartment.

She faces up to nine years in prison.

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