|Discipline or abuse?|
Laron Hinton, 41, was charged with three felonies for his alleged involvement in the abuse of a minor child. Attorney Michael Donovan contended that the actions the parents took were done in a disciplinary manner, not as abuse.
|Parents in court|
Maria Fortner, 42, was charged with three felonies for her alleged involvement in the abuse of a minor child. Fortner continues to be held at the Yuma County Detention Center on a bond of $150,000. Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/abuse-7
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Parents charged in teen's beating
Felony complaints were filed Friday in Yuma Justice Court against the Foothills couple who allegedly beat their 15-year-old daughter with an extension cord.
Maria Fortner, 42, was charged with assault on a minor with a dangerous instrument, child abuse per domestic violence and aggravated assault per domestic violence.
Although his attorney Michael Donovan waived the formal reading of the complaint and advisement of his client's rights, court records indicate Laron Hinton, 41, was also charged with two counts of aggravated assault per domestic violence and one count of child abuse per domestic violence.
Both are scheduled to return to court May 4 at 4 p.m. for their preliminary hearings.
They were arraigned before Justice of the Peace Greg Stewart, who ordered their bonds remain at $150,000, which he had set at a previous hearing.
Although the judge appointed a public defender to represent Fortner, Donovan asked the judge to consider lowering his client's bond to either $50,000 or $75,000, or releasing his client to the custody of a pre-trial services.
He called the bond's current amount prohibitive, saying his client couldn't afford to pay it, which means he wouldn't be able to get out of jail.
Donovan contended that the actions the parents took were done in a disciplinary manner and not as abuse. He went on to say that the manner at which the parents attempted to discipline their daughter, while seemingly harsh by today's standards, may have been socially acceptable years ago.
Donovan also formally complained to the judge about the presence of video and still cameras in the courtroom, saying that he had not be properly notified that the media was going to be present for the hearing. The judge took his complaint under advisement.
At about 3:35 p.m. Tuesday, the Yuma County Sheriff's Office received a call of an aggravated assault/child abuse at a Foothills residence.
According to the YCSO a 15-year-old girl had gone to a neighbor's house for help. The girl had sustained numerous welts, contusions and lacerations across her body allegedly after being struck repeatedly by an extension cord.
Sheriff officials says the girl had been hit up and down her legs, and across her back and arms, to the point it drew blood. Court records also indicated that Fortner had also allegedly choked the 15-year-old girl.
Sheriff officials said it is not known if this was an isolated incident or if there had been a pattern of abuse.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.