A Tahlequah woman charged last July with seriously injuring her 6-week-old son pleaded guilty to child abuse charges Thursday afternoon.

Samantha Lee Roberson, who will turn 19 April 11, was ordered to reappear May 4 at 1:30 p.m. for sentencing. Chief District Judge Bruce Sewell has ordered a pre-sentence investigation that will look into Roberson’s background and her explanation of what happened to her child.

Cherokee County prosecutors have recommended a 20-year sentence for Roberson, with half of the sentence being suspended. Sewell said Roberson would have to serve at least 85 percent, or 8-1/2 years, of the incarceration portion of the sentence before being considered for parole.

She will also receive credit for time served in the county jail, where she has been since her arrest in July by Tahlequah Police Detective Dale Glory.

Roberson, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, sat next to her court-appointed attorney, Shannon Otteson, in Sewell’s chambers as she was asked about the incident by the court. Roberson started crying as she told Sewell she hit the infant’s head on something.

“You’re telling me your child took a serious blow to the head, and you don’t know exactly what happened,” Sewell said to Roberson.

She answered that was the case. Roberson said she took her son to the hospital when he got sick.

First Assistant District Attorney Donovan Dobbs, in response to a question from Sewell, said the child has suffered severe damage, cannot feed himself, and is semi-responsive. He said the child is still hospitalized.

Otteson said she understood the child was tracking with his eyes and making progress on feeding.

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