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Woman sentenced in child cruelty case

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A woman who left her 6-month-old daughter alone in a Stafford motel room last year was ordered Thursday to serve two years in prison.

Christine Faye Clark, 34, also known as Christine Maxson, was sentenced in Stafford Circuit Court to a total of six years in prison with all but two years suspended.

She had previously pleaded guilty to child neglect and child cruelty.

According to the evidence, police were called to the Motel 6 on Warrenton Road late Nov. 13 after guests complained that a baby had been crying for about two hours and no one was answering the door.

Deputy John Miller got management to open the door, and he found a 6-month-old girl upside down on a bed, strapped in a car seat.

Prosecutor Michael Hardiman said the baby had bruises on her back and chest, but did not appear to be seriously injured.

A subsequent examination showed that the child had cocaine in her system. A smoking device containing cocaine residue was found on a night stand next to the bed where the baby was found.

Clark returned to the motel room about an hour after police arrived. She claimed to have been upstairs for about an hour drinking with a friend.

Hardiman said Clark tried to conceal the crack pipe that police had already seen.

Defense attorney Elizabeth Hutson asked Judge J. Howe Brown to put Clark in a place where she could get counseling and other help instead of sending her to prison.

But Hardiman pointed out that at the time of this offense, Clark was on probation in Florida, where she was supposed to be taking drug and parenting classes.

Clark has already given birth to four children and is pregnant with her fifth. The others, including the Nov. 13 victim, are in foster care and her new baby will be placed there when he or she is born.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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