Cape County woman pleads guilty to child abuse

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

NEW MADRID, Mo. -- Jennifer Schwepker, 25, of Cape Girardeau County, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of felony child abuse.

Schwepker pleaded guilty to kicking her then-11-year-old stepson in the genitals. She was also accused of choking him and allowing her husband to strike the boy's toes repeatedly with a hammer while she was in the same room.

Schwepker faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. She could also face a maximum fine of $5,000.

The case was resolved Tuesday more than a year after the crime took place on Jan. 21, 2001.

"We're happy that the matter is resolved for the sake of the young boy," said Scott Lipke, assistant prosecuting attorney. "It puts some closure to everything that he's been through. Hopefully he can move on now with his life and recover from this."

Schwepker, who was originally arrested for two counts of second-degree domestic assault, one count of felony child abuse and one count of felony child endangerment, will be sentenced Sept. 10.

In December, Eric Schwepker, Jennifer's husband, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Circuit Judge Gary Kramer sentenced Schwepker to five years in the Department of Corrections for hitting the boy on the toes with a claw hammer, five years for hitting him with a baseball bat and four years for hitting him with a belt. Schwepker also was sentenced to one year in the county jail for misdemeanor assault for hitting the boy in the face.

The victim is now 13 and is in custody of his maternal grandmother, Karen Bowers. She said Tuesday that he is healthy.

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