Butler County mother gets 20 years prison for child abuse

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Butler County woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison for what District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer called one of the worst cases of child abuse she’s ever seen.

Shelley Norris

Shelley Norris

Shelley Norris was sentenced to 20 years by Second Judicial Circuit Court Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell on Thursday after entering a blind guilty plea to aggravated child abuse.

A blind plea is a guilty plea without a set sentence. It varies from a standard plea bargain, in which the defense and prosecution agree on a guilty plea, and in exchange, the prosecution will recommend a lighter sentence.

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In Norris’ case, due to the severity of the abuse, the state refused to budge from the maximum of 20 years.

According to Tesmer, Norris’ abuse of her then-4-year-old son was captured on video by the child’s grandmother, Alecia Whittle.

Tesmer said the video shows Norris making her son squat with his back against a pillar in their home and hold his arms straight out in front of him. Norris administered the punishment because, according to authorities, she felt her son had talked back to her.

Whittle captured the abuse on video, but authorities didn’t learn of the videos until divorce proceedings for Norris and her ex-husband took place months later.

Tesmer said there are 18 videos that document similar incidents, including the child being struck with a thin wooden paddle when he wouldn’t or couldn’t remain in the squatting position, but prosecutors and investigators believe the abuse happened other times that weren’t recorded.

Whittle has been charged with aggravated child abuse in the connection with the alleged trauma inflicted upon him by his caregivers.

Her case has been continued until December.