AUSTIN, Texas — The United States Attorney’s Office announced that Samantha Renee Headcarrier, 24, of Browning, Montana, has been sentenced to ten years in prison, followed by three years’ supervised release, and a special assessment of $100, after pleading guilty to Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury and Felony Child Abuse. Headcarrier was the foster mother of an eight-month old baby and the abuse was severe enough to cause the child, now nearly two years old, lifelong injuries.
An Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon stated that Headcarrier had become frustrated when the baby would not stop crying, “tossed” her on the bed, spanked her, and hit her on the head with a baby bottle multiple times. Shortly thereafter, the baby began having trouble breathing and began having a seizure.
When questioned, Headcarrier initially claimed that the baby had fallen off a bed, but later admitted to repeatedly abusing her, including admitting hitting the baby “like an adult” on a previous occasion when she was only four months old.
The baby has been adopted by new parents, Evalyna Little Young Man-Baker and Shawn Baker, who were present at Headcarrier’s sentencing. Little Young Man-Baker testified that the baby’s “whole life is going to be affected” because of the abuse caused by Headcarrier, stating that a child her age should be walking and talking, but she still has to be carried.
Headcarrier’s sentence included a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence enacted by Congress for crimes of violence against a child. In his sentencing memorandum to the court, AUSA Weldon called the case “tragic” and worthy of a harsh penalty for Headcarrier: “Even if the mandatory minimum did not apply, the conduct is reprehensible and justifies ten years of imprisonment…that punishment is minor when compared to the baby who will likely face a lifetime of obstacles as a result of Headcarrier’s actions.”
In addition to the prison time, U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris ordered Headcarrier to complete a substance abuse program and barred her from future contact with the child.
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