ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A former Albany daycare center worker is indicted for choking a child under her care.
Georgia now has a much stiffer penalty for choking or strangling, and the District Attorney says that could apply in this case.
Melissa Dannels was indicted for aggravated assault, battery, and five counts of cruelty to a child.
Prosecutors say Dannels was a teacher's aide at this now-closed center on North Jefferson Street.
They say, she told them a 10-year-old boy struck her 5-year-old son on August 3.
Prosecutors say Dannels then put her hands around the child's throat and hit him repeatedly.
Georgia law recently changed choking from a misdemeanor battery to a felony aggravated assault charge.
"Persons engaged in domestic violence in particular and family violence in particular, that it also causes sometime near death, said District Attorney Greg Edwards. "That the legislature has decided that this is going to be a felony."
Under Georgia law now, if convicted of choking or strangling a person, you could face one to 20 years in prison.
The owner of the center told us Dannels was not a paid employee and was there through a work study program, though she did not give us details.