Taja R. McCarter, 29, of the 2600 block of Oxford Street, was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison Friday for stabbing a then-11-month-old baby three times Feb. 10 and also injuring his mother while during a fight between the two women.
Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull sentenced McCarter to 10 years in prison on a charge of aggravated battery and six years on a charge of battery using a deadly weapon, but ordered the sentences served simultaneously. Additional charges of battery with serious bodily injury to a child and two counts of criminal recklessness were dismissed at the sentencing hearing as part of McCarter's plea agreement with the Allen County Prosecutor's office.
The victim and her three children had returned Feb. 9 to McCarter's house for the first time since a fight the two women had in January, a probable cause affidavit filed in the case said. The two women began fighting again, and the victim locked herself in her children's room at the house.
Around midnight, McCarter allegedly kicked down the bedroom door and used a knife to try stabbing the victim, who was holding her 11-month-old son, the affidavit said.
McCarter reportedly stopped after boy's mother yelled, "You stabbed the baby," the affidavit said. But after the mother laid her baby on a bed, McCarter allegedly attacked the woman again, punching her in the head. The woman reportedly fought back, pushing McCarter out of the room, and then called police, the affidavit said.
The baby suffered two stab wounds to his upper right back and one on his lower left thigh, the affidavit said. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition. His mother suffered a cut on her left arm requiring stitches, a small cut to her left hand, a bruise on her right temple and scratch marks on her neck, the affidavit said.
During Friday's sentencing hearing, Deputy Prosecutor Patricia Pikel told Gull the baby's stab wounds became infected, and he had to spend a month in the hospital. The injuries were life-threatening, and the boy still receives therapy as a result of his injuries.
Pikel also alleged McCarter has a longtime substance abuse problem she has failed to correct and has been charged in several other criminal cases.
McCarter and her attorney asked for leniency. McCarter cried as she read a letter apologizing for her actions. Her attorney also cited her client's substance abuse problem.
Gull issued the sentence after saying McCarter appeared sincerely sorry for her actions, but she has failed to make use of repeated opportunities to recover from substance abuse and other issues. Gull also ordered McCarter to have no future contact with the victims.