Mothers indicted for child cruelty -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Mothers indicted for child cruelty

District Attorney Greg Edwards District Attorney Greg Edwards

Two Albany mothers are indicted in separate incidents of horrific child cruelty for discipline that prosecutors say went way too far. The District Attorney who says he won't hesitate to prosecute parents to protect children.

In both these indictments, the mothers said they were disciplining their four year old sons.  The District Attorney says, too often, his office sees cases where discipline becomes cruelty.   

26 year old Toyka Strahan is indicted for two counts of cruelty to a child in the first degree.  Prosecutors say in October she burned both her four year old son's hands with cigarettes, to teach him to stop stealing. 

"We want to respect the right for parents that the law allows the parents to appropriately discipline the children.  But you want to make sure you really don't go over the top," Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said.    

In a separate case, 24 year old Marshay Walker and her 26 year old roommate Keri Sanders are indicted for cruelty to a child in the first degree and aggravated assault.  Prosecutors say Walker and Sanders beat Walker's four year old son with a belt and other objects repeatedly between April and July, maliciously causing what the indictment describes as "serious injuries."

Prosecutors say shocked neighbors and relatives reported the beatings. "There were a number of concerned citizens, neighbors, who notified the Department of Family and Children Services," Edwards said.

Prosecutors say the women kept moving to avoid state investigators.  The D.A. says his office sees these types of cases often, but grand jurors were shocked by the level of cruelty in both cases.    

"This office is truly dedicated to the notion that a community is best served by protecting it's children. it's disabled, and it's senior citizens.  And this office will be committed to making sure that justice is served."  

All three women are out of jail on bond.  The District Attorney says in both cases the state Division of Family and Children Services took charge of the boys, to make sure they are cared for safely.   

Cruelty to a child in the first degree is a felony that carries a sentence of 5 to 20 years behind bars. Georgia law does allow spanking by parents to discipline children.  But the D. A. says the law does not permit cruelty, and parents must exercise good judgement in their discipline.


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