Woman who pleaded guilty to shaking baby to get new hearing

A Jackson County woman who pleaded guilty in 2007 to shaking a baby to death has won an appeal in court, authorities said.

The hearing will give Amy Wilkerson a chance to argue that her plea and life sentence should be overturned, The Sun Herald reported.

In 2018, Circuit Court Judge Dale Harkey denied Wilkerson a hearing to determine whether her appeal warranted a new hearing in the July 2005 death of the 8-week-old infant.

The state Court of Appeals reversed his rulings, finding that Wilkerson is entitled to the hearing.

Wilkerson, who was 29, when she cared for the infant, says scientific evidence developed after her plea has in many cases discredited shaken baby syndrome as a cause of death.

The appellate court agreed that changes in the scientific understanding of shaken baby syndrome do constitute new evidence and grounds for a hearing. Wilkerson will be allowed to present expert testimony that the infant’s brain injury predated the baby’s time in her care, with bleeding around the brain possibly starting at birth.