Sun, Dec. 08

Continuance granted in child abuse case<br><i>Co-defendant's illness impedes progress</I>

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TODD B. Wolf

At a pretrial conference, defense attorney Matthew Springer requested more time to prepare his case as, "a co-defendant in the case is in the hospital and unable to testify," he said. The co-defendant is Wolf's girlfriend, Michelle Marro, 23, also of Cottonwood.

Both Wolf and Marro found themselves in court facing multiple charges of alleged child abuse when Marro's 1-year-old son was treated for severe injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome as well as deep tissue bruises and trauma to the head.

Hinson re-set the pretrial conference for Wolf to Feb. 28, at 10:30 a.m. in Division 4 courtroom of Yavapai County Superior Court in Camp Verde.

According to court records, Wolf faces two charges of child abuse and two charges of aggravated assault, which stem from the incident involving Marro and her child.

He said Marro is gravely ill and unable to testify. Her testimony has bearing on the resolution of Wolf's case.

Marro's attorney, Timothy Grier, told Hinson that Marro remains hospitalized in intensive care, where she will probably remain for several more weeks.

Wolf and Marro were arrested Aug. 13, 2004.

According to Cottonwood Police Department records, Wolf and Marro were taken into custody after they had taken the child to Verde Valley Medical Center's emergency room for treatment on Aug. 11.

Police report that Dr. Vincent Furrey had told officers at the time that the boy's injuries consisted of deep tissue bruises on his back, legs chest and head, and that the child showed symptoms of shaken baby syndrome. The boy was flown via helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix on Aug. 11, then to Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix for treatment of internal head injury and retinal detachment.

The child's condition was not disclosed, but a representative from Child Protective Services said Marro has lost custody of her son, William, who is nearly 2 years old.

According to Cottonwood Police officials, contact was made with the attending physician at VVMC who told officers the child's injuries appear to be consistent with those made by slapping and by the knuckles of an adult's hand.

The report states further that the bruising on the child's body appeared to be in varying stages of healing, ranging in color from deep purple to yellow-brown.

Medical authorities at St. Joseph's Hospital said that after being examined by several doctors, the child was determined to have sustained internal injuries that are consistent with shaken baby syndrome, according to police.

Police records state that the child had been brought into VVMC on June 12 with similar injuries and it was reportedly the worst case of child abuse officers had ever seen.

According to court records, Wolf's trial is set for March 23, at 9:30 a.m. in Hinson's court.

On Dec. 21, Marro pleaded guilty to reckless child abuse, a class 3 felony and her sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 3 p.m.

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