A couple charged with the criminal abuse of their infant child had their day in court this week.

Will Arnold Callahan, 34, and Candus Rogers, 29, both of 164 Ruby Jones Road in East Bernstadt, were scheduled for court hearings this week on one count of first-degree criminal abuse of their infant child in 2016. Both were indicted on the charge in January 2017 with the indictment stating that from the date of the child's birth in March 2016 until October of that year, the child was placed in a situation that could have caused serious injury and/or death.

Callahan sidestepped a jury trial scheduled for Tuesday by entering a guilty plea to the charge. First-degree criminal abuse is a Class C felony that carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years. Through Tuesday's plea agreement, Callahan was recommended to serve a seven-year sentence.

The plea agreement signed by Callahan states that he "acting alone or in concert with others, committed the offense of criminal abuse in the first degree by intentionally abusing (child), a child less than 12 years of age, by placing (child) in a situation which caused (child) to be in danger of death or serious physical injury." It also states that Callahan "agrees to fully cooperate and testify truthfully in the trial of co-defendant, Candus Rogers" as a condition of that plea.

Court documents indicate that Rogers had previously entered a guilty plea to the charge, but that plea agreement was invalidated and she was set for a status hearing on the charge.

Callahan and Rogers were arrested and lodged in the Laurel County Correctional Center on Feb. 23, 2017, where Callahan has remained in custody. Rogers has been released on bond but was taken back into custody on Tuesday and set for a status hearing in Laurel Circuit on Thursday. No information on the outcome of that case was available at press time Thursday afternoon.

Callahan was arrested after Laurel Sheriff's officials went to a residence to serve the indictment warrant on him. But Callahan attempted to flee police and was also found in possession of over 2 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia - resulting in additional charges being added to his legal list.

In an ironic twist, this is not Callahan's first incident involving the serious injury of a child. In 2009, he was the caregiver of a two-year-old child who died as a result of an internal injury. Callahan was the key witness against the child's mother, Amanda Johnson, who was convicted of the child's murder for reportedly hitting the child in the abdomen and causing internal hemorrhaging that caused his death. She is now serving the sentence for that conviction.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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