SMETHPORT — A Bradford woman will serve time in state prison for causing serious injuries to her 3-month-old infant.
Alana N. Dinch, 21, pleaded guilty May 16 to one count of aggravated assault under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, a first-degree felony.
On Thursday in McKean County Court, President Judge John Pavlock sentenced Dinch to three to six years in state prison with credit for 63 days of time served.
She is also not to have any contact with the victim or any unsupervised contact with juveniles. Dinch is to undergo mental health and drug & alcohol evaluations, too.
Dinch had entered her guilty plea to allegations that between Dec. 5 and Dec. 19 in Bradford City, she caused injuries to a 3-month-old infant that included a hemorrhage on the brain, a fractured skull and broken rib. The baby had been shaken, squeezed and struck with a chair.
On Thursday, Dinch’s attorney, Alan Conn, noted that Dinch did not intend to strike the baby with the chair.
She was throwing the chair at Jonathan Burke, her codefendant, and it struck the baby.
However, District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer countered that the baby was injured on at least three separate occasions.
Shaffer called the case “disturbing” and noted the condition of the baby was “touch and go” at one point and implied the baby nearly died, saying she did not know what type of case she would ultimately be prosecuting.
Conn noted that Dinch was suffering from mental health issues including depression and PTSD at the time of the assaults, and he provided Pavlock several letters written on her behalf.
“She does have a considerable support system” from her family, Conn said. He also the judge to consider that Dinch is receiving regular treatment at the Guidance Center.
When it was her time to speak, Dinch, who was visibly upset, said, “Every day I wish I could take it back, that fight.” She apologized through tears.
Pavlock mentioned Dinch’s mental health records, which outlined issues she faced in her childhood.
“There’s the clear conclusion that she suffered trauma herself,” said Pavlock. “That has to be given some consideration, but it can’t override the harm to the victim in this case.”
Pavlock referred to the letters written on behalf of Dinch, which he said contained statements that she was a caring mother. He said he was shocked by the statements, explaining he thinks it’s “scary” the family doesn’t “recognize the need for separation.”
The judge noted Dinch has a prior record score of zero, but added, “the harm was great here.”
A case against Burke, 24, of Bradford, is still pending. He is accused of failing to get medical treatment for the infant for several days after the baby was hurt.
On May 30, Burke requested a trial, and a pretrial conference is scheduled in his case for 2:30 p.m. July 11.