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Woman to withdraw her guilty plea of using baby as weapon

A mother who admitted using her 4-week-old son like a bat to hit her boyfriend, fracturing the infant's skull, is going to withdrew her guilty plea.

Chytoria Graham, 27, of Erie, asked to withdraw her plea Friday - the day she was to be sentenced to at least five years in prison.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, Graham had pleaded guilty in March to aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child; reckless endangerment and simple assault charges were dropped.

Graham now says she was not responsible for the injuries to Jarron Troop, who has since recovered.

He lawyers said she did not understand the mandatory minimum sentence and previously did not recall the events of Oct. 8. The aggravated assault charge carries a mandatory minimum prison term of five years because the victim was younger than 13 years old.

Graham pleaded guilty because she had been drinking that night, and as a caring mother, felt she was responsible for whatever had happened to the child, said defense attorney Julia Dudics.

Another defense lawyer, James Pitonyak, said Graham has since recalled events more clearly and now believes that her boyfriend, Deangelo Troop, Jarron's father, also caused the baby's injuries.

Assistant District Attorney Raquel Taylor said a transcript of the guilty plea hearing shows the plea terms were clearly spelled out to Graham.

She also said the prosecution's case would be harmed if the plea is allowed to be withdrawn because authorities have not been able to contact Troop. Also, a child who witnessed the struggle between Graham and Troop has been living with Graham's mother, who believes Graham is innocent, Taylor said.

Judge William R. Cunningham said he would decide on the withdrawal request soon.

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