PALMDALE – A 27-year-old woman accused of brutally beating her boyfriend’s 2-year-old son near a Palmdale bus stop was sentenced to two years in prison after accepting a plea deal.
Michelle Fletcher pleaded no contest July 30 to one count of child abuse, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. In exchange for the plea, the prosecution dismissed one felony count of corporal injury on a child, according to court records.
The conviction stems from an incident that occurred on the afternoon of February 21 near 10th Street East and Avenue Q-4 in Palmdale. Fletcher was pushing a baby carriage while scolding and striking a crying toddler walking beside her, according to an eyewitness who testified at the preliminary court hearing.
Fletcher kneed the toddler twice in the buttocks and then wrapped a belt around the child’s neck and raised him off the ground, the witness said.
When deputies were called to the scene a short time later, the two-year-old appeared extremely lethargic and a chunk of his hair was missing, according to Palmdale Sheriff’s deputy Mario Villalobos.
Deputies found a belt and a chunk of the child’s hair in Fletcher’s diaper bag, Villalobos testified.
The child was airlifted to the hospital, where he remained for nearly two weeks. Hospital staff told investigators that the toddler was extremely dehydrated, and he had numerous superficial wounds and bruises, lots of scabbing, and strangulation marks on his neck, according to court testimony by Special Victim’s Bureau Detective Laura Bruner.
Fletcher was sentenced July 30 to two years in state prison, and she was ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from the child, according to court records. Fletcher, who has been jailed since the incident, was given total credit for 320 days in custody – 160 days actual custody and 160 days credit for good time/work time, court records show.
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