Peterson’s decision came after conflicting testimony including that from an Alabama Department of Human Resources worker who said the agency found no evidence the abuse occurred. Donna Shellhouse testified that Houston County DHR investigated at the request the agency’s Henry County office that had earlier been contacted by the family of the alleged victim.
The youngster’s paternal grandmother testified that she noticed burns on the boy at various times since August, 2012. Anita Scoggins showed photos in court she claims to have taken in order to document the abuse. However, she admitted that no medical treatment was sought until April of this year.
On cross examination by defense attorney Spencer Danzey, Anita Scoggins said she tried to avoid confrontation with her former daughter-in-law. Danzey questioned why she did not discuss the matter with Kandace Scoggins.
The defendant’s former husband testified that he observed six to seven burns on the body of his son at on various dates. Jeremy Scoggins said the boy told him “Mom burned me.” He said his ex-wife claimed the marks were caused by other things including blisters.
Henry County Sheriff’s Investigator Keith Cauthen testified that he went to the Child Advocacy Center in April to watch an interactive interview with the boy. Cauthen said the youngster told case workers his mother had burned him but admitted the boy was confused on the number of times—sometimes claiming twice and at other times saying it happened six times.
Scoggins is accused of Aggravated Child Abuse. She was arrested April 23 and later released on $40,000 bond.
The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to move forward. It is not a determination of guilt and it’s highly unusual when a case is not forwarded to a grand jury. The next one in Henry County meets next month.
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