published Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Traci Carpenter guilty in child abuse death of 18-month-old daughter

  • photo
    Traci Carpenter leaves Hamilton County Criminal Court with her attorney Lee Davis after she pleaded guilty to child abuse in the 2006 death of her 18-month-old daughter Sierra.
    Photo by Todd South /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Traci Carpenter has pleaded guilty to child abuse in the 2006 death of her 18-month-old daughter Sierra.

She faces 2-4 years in prison. The sentencing hearing will be on May 19.

Carpenter had faced as much as a 25-year prison sentence if convicted onthe aggravated child neglect charge.

Sierra died on April 27, 2006. An autopsy revealed bleeding on the brain, among other injuries. That evidence was used a year after the toddler’s death to charge Carpenter, and Brian Rutherford, who was Carpenter’s boyfriend at the time.

Rutherford faced a charge of first-degree murder. A jury acquitted Rutherford of the murder charge in a November 2008 trial.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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