Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
Baby sitter found guilty in infant's death in 2008
By Margie Wuebker
A 46-year-old St. Henry woman could spend up to 14 years in prison after being found guilty Tuesday of charges stemming from the July 2008 death of an infant in her care.
Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Ingraham found Tamara "Tammy" Evers, 502 Northview Drive, guilty after she entered an Alford plea of guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and a standard guilty plea to perjury, a third-degree felony. The Alford plea does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state likely has sufficient evidence to garner a conviction at trial.
Evers had been scheduled for a final pretrial hearing Tuesday, however, that was changed after attorneys reached a plea agreement Monday.
Sentencing is set for Nov. 18 in Mercer County Common Pleas Court. The first-degree felony charge carries up to 11 years; the perjury charge, up to three years.
Evers, a former baby sitter, was charged with murder, felonious assault, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children and perjury for the July 8, 2008, death of 6-month-old Trevor Stammen, son of Brian and Angie Stammen, St. Henry. He reportedly suffered two skull fractures. The death certificate, signed by Dr. Kent Edward Harshbarger of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, listed his death as a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox has filed paperwork to dismiss the remaining seven charges.
A special proceeding is scheduled for Oct. 11 to allow Ingraham to hear expert witness testimony before sentencing Evers.
Defense attorneys Gregory D. and Eric J. Wilson maintain the injuries occurred when the child fell from a changing table to the laundry room floor, a distance of roughly 32 inches, while the state contends Evers intentionally and violently struck the child's head twice - once on each side or once between two hard surfaces. The state also has pointed out that Evers failed to tell emergency medical personnel summoned to her home and hospital personnel how the injuries had occurred.
The perjury charge stems from statements Evers made during a Mercer County Juvenile Court proceeding involving the Stammens' other children. Given the unknown circumstances of the infant's death at the time, the siblings had been deemed "dependent" and placed in the court's jurisdiction. Stammen testified under oath she had no idea how the injuries occurred.
Evers spoke quietly with family members in the courtroom before Tuesday's proceeding. Many members of the Stammen family held photographs of the infant or wore commemorative pins.
The Tuesday change of plea hearing is the latest twist in the case which has seen two previous trial dates come and go amid a flurry of motion filings.