York mom guilty of child endangerment, accepted into Wellness Court
A York County woman who police said put her 6-month-old baby in danger by letting the child's allegedly intoxicated father babysit him has pleaded guilty and been accepted into the county's Wellness Court.
Angela Lissette Barlow, 39, formerly of Windsor and now of the York area, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a third-degree felony charge of child endangerment.
Rather than being sentenced, Barlow was accepted into Wellness Court, formerly known as treatment court. York County has wellness courts for veterans, defendants with substance-abuse and mental-health issues, and for those arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Such diversionary courts are designed to address the underlying causes behind why defendants offend and to save taxpayers money by keeping offenders out of prison and rehabilitating them so they don't commit more crimes.
Some defendants who successfully complete Wellness Court can avoid conviction while others have their charges reduced, depending on the type of offense and its grading. Those who don't complete requirements are removed from the program and must again face their criminal charges.
Defense attorney T.L. Kearney said that if Barlow successfully completes the program, her felony child-endangerment charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor version of the offense.
Kearney told The York Dispatch the incident was the catalyst that spurred change in Barlow's life, "and she has been dedicated to that change and being a positive parent in her children's lives since."
Wellness Court will give Barlow the support she needs to continue improving herself, "and she is grateful for the opportunity," Kearney said.
Father still charged: Barlow's domestic partner at the time of the incident, Wyatt A. Beecher, 40, of Windsor, remains charged with child endangerment.
According to court documents, Beecher was supposed to be watching the couple's baby on Sept. 15, but he left her partially in a car seat on the front porch of their West Main Street home on a sunny 80-degree day.
A neighbor went outside and heard a baby crying but didn't think much of it, police said. She went back inside but investigated about five minutes later when the crying hadn't stopped and found the baby on the porch, according to police.
The neighbor picked up the baby, who was hot, red and sweaty, then knocked on the door.
'Confused, stumbling': Police said it took Beecher several minutes to answer.
"She related when he finally did unlock the door, he walked right past her ... and walked to a vehicle and was trying to unlock the door and started nodding off," court documents state, which is when the neighbor called 911.
A state trooper responded to the scene and found Beecher to be confused, stumbling and slurring his words, documents allege.
Beecher told the trooper he didn't remember Barlow asking him to watch their baby, didn't remember leaving the baby on the porch and said he must have blacked out, according to court documents.
Earlier incident: Barlow was previously charged with child endangerment after state police were called to the Windsor home she and Beecher shared at about 8:30 p.m June 9 for a domestic dispute that had spilled outside.
Barlow told a trooper that Beecher was cheating on her and that they argued about it, according to court documents.
Barlow admitted she pushed, shoved and hit Beecher with an open hand while holding her infant daughter in her arms, documents state.
The baby was "dangling from the arm of Barlow" as she chased and assaulted Beecher, court documents state. The baby escaped injury.
Barlow later pleaded guilty to a summary harassment offense in that case, court records indicate.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.