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Judge sentences Republic, Mo. babysitter to prison after conviction for abusing infant in her care

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 12:00 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A judge sentenced a babysitter from Republic to prison for abusing or neglecting an infant while in her care.

Judge Calvin Holden sentenced Samantha Dillbeck to seven years in the department of corrections. She will not be eligible for parole for five years. Authorities immediately took her into custody.

Lawyers for Dillbeck plan to appeal the sentence.

The incident happened in March of 2017. Prosecutors argued Dillbeck, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant at the time, was stressed, and though she didn’t mean to cause harm, shook baby Grayson. They pointed to highly specific injuries to his eyes and brain. Three doctors agreed had to be caused by shaking. Doctors who treated Grayson, testified that his injuries were not accidental.

The defense argued Dillbeck loved Grayson like her own son, and there were no signs she was stressed. They claim it was her daughter’s fourth birthday. They argued Grayson was not a healthy child and had old bleeding on the brain, which they say the prosecution avoided in their arguments.

Four years later, Grayson is doing fine. His parents call it a miracle.

“It’s non-accidental abusive head trauma, and that’s what it is,” Prosecutor Dan Patterson told the court Friday. “It was recklessly caused by this defendant.”

Though Dillibeck’s attorneys asked him to reconsider, Holden stuck with his verdict and agreed with the state, but admitted it’s one of the hardest cases he’s ever had. Before sentencing, Patterson read a statement from Grayson’s parents.

“I can’t adequately explain the emotions we felt, the pure got wrenching heartache, the fear of the unknown concerning Grayson’s future, the frustration and anger we felt towards the person who did this to Grayson,” the statement read.

The statement talked about Grayson’s week in ICU, months of follow up treatment, and the mental anguish his parents suffer to this day.

Dillbeck’s defense asked the judge to not send her to prison.

“Daycare not one other daycare parent testified at that trial that they had any concern about this woman watching their child,” said defense attorney Taylon Sumners. “If anything, as you read in those statements, they wish that she could still watch their children today.”

Dillbeck herself pleaded for mercy.

“I wouldn’t care what you did to me if it was just about me,” Dillbeck said. “It’s about my family. My children have suffered.”

She said she hasn’t been allowed to speak to Grayson’s family.

“The one thing I want you to know that I didn’t get to say was that, I am showing remorse. I loved that child, and I love that family,” Dillbeck told the judge.

“It was hard for me to listen to when she said she loved him,” says Angela Bos, Grayson’s grandmother. “Because you don’t do that to someone you love.”

Grayson’s grandparents attended the hearing to witness the sentencing.

“I think that’s very fair. Our family feels good about that,” Bos says. “It just wasn’t fair what Grayson, and Sarah and Shane and our family has been through.”

With emotional goodbyes from more than a dozen loved ones in the courtroom, Samantha Dillbeck was taken into custody.

Dillbeck’s attorneys, Joe Passanise and Taylon Sumners, plan to immediately file for an appeal. She has an appellate bond hearing on July 21st, but is held in the Greene County jail for now.

Dillbeck faced up to 15 years in prison.

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