Tahlequah Daily Press

September 25, 2013

Local woman gets 23 years for shaking baby

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A Tahlequah woman was handed a 23-year prison sentence this week after pleading guilty to shaking her infant child nearly two years ago.

Helen Marie Terrell, 30, was charged with felony child abuse. She avoided appearing before a jury in exchange for a guilty plea.

Terrell received a 23-year sentence, with the final five years suspended. She will also receive credit for the time she has served in jail since November 2011.

Terrell must serve at least 85 percent of her sentence.

She was accused of shaking her 8-week-old son twice – once for about five seconds and again for about 10 seconds – when she was angry, frustrated, tired and stressed out. Authorities said the baby was crying when the shaking occurred.

According to authorities, Terrell took the child to a hospital when he began to vomit and wouldn’t eat. A doctor then determined the infant had symptoms of shaken-baby syndrome.

The child was treated for chronic and acute subdural hematoma – a collection of blood on the surface of the brain often caused by head injuries.

-- joshnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com