The Columbia Daily Tribune recently interviewed Prof. Rod Uphoff about the case of Columbia mother Anna Steele, who was charged with second-degree murder for the death of her infant daughter. Steele’s attorney has claimed that she did not know her boyfriend, Cody Baker, was abusing the child, even though there are police allegations to the contrary. The autopsy for baby Finley Steele found there was blunt trauma to the head and evidence of the baby being shaken. Baker has also been charged with second-degree murder.
In the article, Prof. Uphoff stressed that is important to differentiate whether Steele knew of the abuse and failed to act out of fear of Baker or whether she was simply ignorant of the abuse. He noted that her criminal responsibility may turn on what the prosecutor can prove she knew about the danger her child faced based on the nature and history of abuse her child had experienced. However, Prof. Uphoff says Steele’s attorney may have a difficult time proving her ignorance because of the statements from neighbors, stating even they had noticed the bruises on the infant.