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Mom in 'tortured' toddler case rejects plea deal

Posted: 10:47 PM, May 24, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-25 12:37:26-04

CINCINNATI -- A woman Hamilton County officials accused of torturing her 2-year-old daughter to death chose not to take a plea deal in court Wednesday morning, meaning her case will head to trial and she could face the death penalty.

Andrea Bradley was indicted in April 2015 on on charges of aggravated murder, murder and felony child endangerment in connection with the death of her daughter, Glenara. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Kode Sammarco said the child suffered terrible abuse before her death.

Bradley will be back in court June 8 for a motion hearing. Deters said Tuesday that defense attorneys had approached his office about entering a plea in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole rather than risk a death sentence.

"Because of the current makeup of the Supreme Court of Ohio, it’s almost fruitless to seek the death penalty anymore," Deters told WCPO.

Glenara Bates. Photo courtesy of the Bradley family

Her attorney Scott Rubenstein didn't get into specifics on why Bradley chose to reject the plea deal.

 

“[With the plea deal,] we’d be in the position to argue for a possibility that she would be paroled at some point, but she’s not comfortable with that, and so we have to respect what our client wants to do," Rubenstein said.

Glen Bates, Glenara's father, was indicted on the same charges as Bradley. Deters said Bates' mother was trying to talk him out of taking the deal.

The prosecutor previously said he'd like to see Bradley and Bates sentenced to death.

"If they get executed, God bless them, I’d like to see it,” Deters said last April .

Bradley and Bates were charged with felony child endangering on March 29, 2015, shortly after taking their already-dead daughter to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The charges were upgraded to murder after Sammarco completed an autopsy on the toddler.

“I’ve never seen starvation like this before, and I’ve traveled around the world,” Sammaraco said of her medical findings.

Glenara weighed 13 pounds when her parents brought her to the hospital. Sammaraco said the toddler’s small intestines and bladder were empty when she performed her medical exam.

"We are not sure the last time she had been fed or given anything to drink,” she said, adding 13 pounds is the average weight for a 3-to-4-month-old.

Sammaraco said it was likely days since the child last ate or had water. She slept in a bathtub filled with feces, Deters and Sammaraco said.

The autopsy also confirmed multiple lacerations and cuts on the child that doctors reported to Cincinnati police when Glenara was brought to the hospital.

"And then it took one of our forensic pathologists over four hours to document the number of scars and wounds on her extremities and her torso and her body," Sammaraco said. "Over four hours just to document the wounds on the outside of her body."

Glenara also suffered internal bleeding in her head on three separate occasions, the autopsy uncovered.

"There is no doubt in my mind this child was tortured for the majority of her pitifully short life," Sammarco said.

County Agency Admits Missteps

Juvenile Court records obtained by WCPO show social workers removed some of Bradley's children in 2010 because she knowingly "allowed drug trafficking" in her home.Documents also showed one of Bradley's children suffered bruises to the neck, eye, back and legs in 2012. The child's bruises were so severe that he had difficulty walking, the report states. That child, Glenara and others were placed in foster care.

Then, in December 2014, Glenara was hospitalized with malnutrition as Bradley dealt with depression and bipolar disorder.

Glenara was given back to Bradley a few weeks before she died.

Deters said Hamilton County Job and Family Services "dropped the ball" in Glenara's case by putting her back in her mother's care. JFS Director Moira Weir admitted her agency mishandled the case, and two workers charged with overseeing Glenara resigned a short time later.

The child's grandmother, Desena Bradley, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county in December. The suit claims that a series of bad decisions and misconduct lead to Glenara being put back into the “squalor and depravity” of her parents’ home. It also attributes the girl’s death to the alleged misconduct of JFS.

The family claims the evidence shows Glenara was functioning normally while in foster care, but abuse was evident when her mother took her took Children’s Hospital because of her inability to walk.

In the suit, the family argues that despite signs of abuse and neglect pointed out by physicians, JFS decided to return the girl to her parents.

WCPO will update this developing story.