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Waller pleads guilty
Trial was slated to start next week
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The criminal chapter in the abuse and neglect of an Effingham County toddler came to a close as his father plead guilty to charges related to the incident.

Phillip Waller avoided a trial set for next week as he pled guilty to one count of cruelty to children and a misdemeanor charge of obstruction.

Waller’s son Aiden was rushed to Memorial Health University Center last January with severe injuries at the hand of his mother Tina Richards.

Waller was not charged as an active participant in the abuse of his son but authorities said he did not prevent it nor did he alert anyone that it was taking place.

On the day Aiden Waller was rushed to the hospital with his injuries, Phillip Waller was at work.

“There were never allegations that he took part in the abuse,” said Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Michael Muldrew.

Waller, who has been at the Screven County Jail for the last year, will serve another eight to 10 months at a detention center. The 14 months he has already spent behind bars will count toward his sentence, Muldrew said.

The trial was scheduled to start next Wednesday at 1 p.m.

“We already picked a jury,” Muldrew said.

In December, Tina Richards pled guilty to charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and cruelty to children. She is serving a 40-year sentence, with 30 in prison and 10 years of probation.

Richards also gave birth to another son, now a year old, while in jail last year.

Waller originally pled not guilty last April to two charges of cruelty to children and an obstruction charge.