Hammer signs open guilty plea to injuring her infant child

As expected, a Vandalia woman charged in March of last year with seriously injuring her infant child has pleaded guilty. Aubree Hammer told Fayette County Resident Circuit Judge Don Sheafor at a Sept. 22 hearing that she intended to enter an open plea of guilty on Tuesday, and Hammer did, in fact, enter that plea. Hammer, 24, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated battery of a child under the age of 13, causing severe bodily harm and permanent damage. In March of last year, the office of Fayette County State’s Attorney Joshua Morrison filed information alleging that Hammer “knowingly caused great bodily harm and permanent disability … to a child under the age of 13 in that she held (the child) head-high and threw him to the wooden floor, causing brain damage.” At the time of the incident, the child was 3½ months old, according to court records. The offense is a Class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison; probation is not a sentencing alternative. In signing an open plea of guilty, Hammer is allowing the judge to determine the length of her sentence, as opposed to plea bargaining, through which the defendant agrees to a sentence upon pleading guilty. At the request of Hammer’s court-appointed attorney, Patrick Schaufelberger, a sentencing hearing was delayed until Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. Hammer’s arrest came a little more than two weeks after Vandalia Police Chief Jeff Ray issued a press release stating that his department responded to a medical facility “in reference to possible child abuse” of a 3½-month-old infant. “Due to the seriousness of the injuries to the child,” Ray said in the release, “we activated the Child Death Investigation Task Force.”

Aubree Hammer

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