Tulsa Mother Sentenced To 20 Years For Critically Injuring Infant Son

Monday, March 4th 2013, 10:26 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa mother will spend 20 years behind bars for critically injuring her 3-month-old baby boy.

Prosecutors say she shook her son and slammed his head against the wall.

During the hearing, Katie Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse by injury, but she showed little to no remorse in the courtroom. As prosecutors read the extent of her son's injuries, she shook her head, and then held her head down as her fate was revealed.

Now, 22-month-old Jeremiah Suggs appears to be a happy baby. He was running around and playing when we spoke with his adoptive family.

"Every step he takes is a step he never would have had, or every time he laughs, it's a laugh he never was supposed to have. Everyday is nice," said father Michael Suggs.

At just 3 months old, this little boy defied the odds. His birth mother, Katie Johnson, pleaded guilty to shaking and hitting him.

Doctors were not sure that Jeremiah would survive. He spent nearly a month in the hospital for a fractured skull and other critical injuries.

"He was supposed to have lost his right eye," said his adopted mother Dana Suggs. "If he lived, at all, he would lose his right eye, and there was a huge chance he was going to lose his right leg as well."

Court records show Johnson originally told police that Jeremiah fell 19 inches off a couch, onto a carpeted floor. She later changed her statement and told detectives she remembered falling on the baby while carrying him upstairs. The documents reveal she finally admitted to shaking the baby and "accidentally" bumping his head against the wall three to four times.

"She failed to even take him to the hospital at that point," said Assistant District Attorney Sara McAmis. "She was more worried about herself than the life of her 2-month-old baby."

On March 1, Michael and Dana Suggs officially adopted Jeremiah and his older brother and sister. That brought the Suggs household to eight.

Dana said it warms her heart to see all of her kids playing together, but she can't help but wonder what type of lingering effects the abuse will have on Jeremiah.

"Katie will pay for it with 20 years of her life. Jeremiah will pay for it the rest of his life, for what was done to him. He will pay forever," Dana said.

Prosecutors say Johnson also beat her two older children. The Suggs family hopes to eventually build a bigger house, so they can adopt more children.