Accused child abuser in jail

GREENFIELD — A woman awaiting trial in a child-abuse case after an infant in her care went blind last year is back in jail after being accused of assaulting a man, according to court documents.

The new case, filed this month in Orange County in southern Indiana, complicates negotiations for a plea deal Hancock County prosecutors were working to offer Andie Suddarth, 24, of Hardinsburg; and her 2014 case could go to trial in two weeks as a result, they say.

Suddarth, formerly of Greenfield, was free on bond in early September when officers with the Paoli Police Department in southern Indiana arrested her on battery charges. This week at what was originally slated to be a settlement conference, Hancock County prosecutors asked Judge Richard Culver to revoke Suddarth’s bond and issue a warrant for her arrest, according to court records.

Culver granted the request following a special hearing, and Suddarth was booked into the Hancock County Jail, where she remained at press time.

Prosecutor Brent Eaton said his team had been working to settle the case out of court prior to the new charges being filed against Suddarth. Prosecutors consider many factors when deciding on the terms of a plea agreement, and the defendant’s criminal history is among them, Eaton said.

Police said Suddarth got into a fight with a man at her home in Orange County early Sept. 6. Officers were called to Suddarth’s apartment complex after gunshots were heard in the area, according to court documents.

A witness told police Suddarth was “going psycho and beating people,” and police found a man at her home with a red and swollen eye and scratches on his chest, court documents state.

While at her home, police saw Suddarth try to push the same man to the ground, court documents state.

Suddarth was arrested and taken to the Orange County Jail. She faces a misdemeanor charge of battery resulting in bodily injury.

Hancock County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Marie Castetter, who is handling Suddarth’s local case, was informed of the arrest a few days later.

Suddarth’s Hancock County cases dates back to March 2014, when she and the child’s father, Michael Knott, were charged with felony neglect after their infant daughter suffered brain bleeding and retinal hemorrhaging after what doctors say was ongoing abuse. The child was 3 months old at the time.

Doctors who examined the infant found other injuries consistent with shaking the child or slamming her down onto a soft surface, according to court documents. While examining her, they also discovered old injuries that suggested the abuse was ongoing, court documents state.

Suddarth was arrested in May 2014 and was released on a $5,000 cash bond a few days later.

Prosecutors regularly monitor the actions of those out of jail on bond for pending criminal cases, Eaton said.

“If she committed a crime while she was out on bond, she’s made it clear she can’t follow the rules set by a judge,” he said.

Suddarth faces two charges of neglect, one Class D felony, which carried a penalty of six months to three years and up to $10,000 in fines, and a Class B felony, which carries a range of six to 20 years and up to $10,000 in fines.

A trial date has been set for Oct. 13.

Jim McNew, Suddarth’s attorney, declined to comment on the pending case.

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or