One chapter in Aiden Waller’s life came to a close in an Effingham County courtroom Wednesday morning.
His mother, Tina Richards, pled guilty to charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and cruelty to children stemming from a January incident that led to Aiden, then less than a year old, being airlifted to Savannah’s Memorial University Medical Center.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Muldrew said the injuries suffered by Aiden, who was 10 months old when he was rushed to the hospital for life-saving treatment, were very serious.
“They’re really bad, and they appear to be permanent,” he said. “The prognosis for the child to get better is not very good,” he said.
Her sentence for Wednesday’s plea includes 20 years to be served concurrently with the original sentence and an additional 20 years that includes 10 years of probation.
Her sentence Wednesday morning, reached in a deal between the public defender’s office and the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office, would keep Richards in prison for a total of 30 years. She has been in the Metro State Prison, where she gave birth to a second son back in February, since her sentencing for the probation revocation.
Richards and the baby’s father, Phillip Waller, pled not guilty in April. But Richards, who was on probation, was given a total of 21 years for violating her probation.
She had been charged with two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated assault and two counts of cruelty to children.
Richards stood before Judge Gates Peed in a green Effingham County Jail women’s uniform and began to break down as Judge Peed asked if she was guilty. She answered, “Yes, sir.”
She made no statement and spoke only to answer Judge Peed’s questions as he went over the plea deal.
Richards was on probation for an incident involving Aiden in July 2007. She was convicted of one count of cruelty to children and one count of battery for the first incident, which led to five years’ probation.
Richards told authorities that she had slipped and fallen while carrying her son on Jan. 21 and that led to his substantial injuries. She was found in her yard carrying her child.
But Effingham sheriff’s investigators discovered a child’s onesy that had been sewn into a crib sheet and thread and yarn put in place to restrain a child’s feet.