RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn – Parents of an infant who suffered severe burns on Christmas Eve 2021 entered pleas to aggravated child abuse, neglect and endangerment last month. Parents Demarcus Arinez Blackmon, 28, of Joe Brown Road near Murfreesboro and 28-year-old Whitnee Peters of Nashville, were indicted after an investigation by Rutherford County Sheriff’s Detective Jesse Gammel.
Gammel was called Dec. 24, 2021 to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital by the Department of Children’s Services where he learned the 4-month-old baby suffered first-degree and second-degree burns to about 60 percent of her body. The baby was admitted to hospital for her recovery.
Blackmon was found guilty of aggravated child abuse, neglect and endangerment. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison under a plea agreement by Circuit Court Judge Jimmy Turner.
Peters pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse, neglect and endangerment. She was placed on judicial diversion. The Judicial diversion will allow for the qualified defendant to enter a conditional plea of guilty with the understanding that after Peters successfully completes probation, in this case under the state probation office, the diverted charge is dismissed and can be expunged from the defendant's record. If Peters is found guilty under any criminal charge during the probation period, then charges cannot be expunged from her record.