FORT WAYNE – While she awaited her turn before the judge, Christa Shaffer-Schuchman tapped her feet furiously in the jury box, jiggling her handcuffs and those connected to the prisoners shackled next to her.
As her attorney talked with her before the hearing, she became increasingly animated, going over the pages of a statement she wanted to read.
But when Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull sentenced her Tuesday to six years in prison for allowing her children to be harmed, the 26-year-old Shaffer-Schuchman seemed to settle down a bit.
In August, Shaffer-Schuchman pleaded guilty to two counts of neglect of a dependent. An additional charge of battery was dismissed.
She admitted to failing to protect and provide care for her two daughters. One of the girls suffered bleeding on her brain and multiple bruises all over her body.
Shaffer-Schuchman’s ex-boyfriend, Jason Morlan, pleaded guilty this month to charges of neglect. He was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, but his case was continued because he was in the custody of another county on an unrelated case.
Gull sentenced Shaffer-Schuchman to a total of 10 years in prison – five years on each charge to be served one after another.
Gull suspended four years and ordered two years to be served on probation.
Shaffer-Schuchman apologized for what happened to her children, saying she and they had been abused by Morlan.
In October 2012, one of the children, then 4, was taken to a hospital by ambulance. An examination revealed bleeding on the child’s brain in various stages of healing.
While that child was being treated, Shaffer-Schuchman’s other child was staying with a family member. That woman saw multiple bruises all over the child’s body, according to court documents.
When she was interviewed by police, Shaffer-Schuchman gave multiple reasons for the injuries.
The children told interviewers that Shaffer-Schuchman hit one of them and that Morlan hit them with a “switch,” whipped them with a belt and kicked them with cowboy boots, according to court documents.