South Carolina

SC mother who left baby with bruises, rib fractures and broken bones going to prison

Erica Shunta Kelley, 25.
Erica Shunta Kelley, 25. 8th Circuit Solicitor's Office

A 25-year-old Laurens County mother was sentenced to more than a dozen years in prison on May 23 for abusing her infant son.

Erica Shunta Kelley pleaded guilty to a charge of inflicting great bodily injury on a child and was sentenced to 15 years in prison by Circuit Court Judge Allison Lee. Kelley could have served up to 20 years, the maximum sentence for this crime.

Investigators say they found out about the abuse in July 2018, when they received a tip and visited Kelley’s home. There, they say they found Kelley’s son, who was nine months old at the time, with multiple injuries.

The infant had bruises “all over his body” and face, according to a news release about Kelley’s conviction. The child’s left arm and left leg were broken, and his right arm bruised and swollen. He also had various scars on his body and 10 fractured ribs, the release said. Investigators rushed the baby to the hospital.

Kelley admitted to abusing the child, according to the release. She also had a record of abuse.

Following a 2013 incident, Kelley was convicted for unlawful abuse or neglect of one of her other children, and was sentenced to three years in prison in that case.

Isabella Cueto is a bilingual multimedia journalist covering Lexington County, one of the fastest-growing areas of South Carolina. She previously worked as a reporter for the Medill Justice Project and WLRN, South Florida’s NPR station. She is a graduate of the University of Miami, where she studied journalism and theatre arts.