A horrific child abuse case more than four and a half years old took a dramatic turn Monday when the defendant in the case pleaded guilty.

A horrific child abuse case more than four and a half years old took a dramatic turn Monday when the defendant in the case pleaded guilty.

Aaron Michael Fisher, 25, entered pleas of guilty to charges of forcible sodomy of a child on Monday, July 28, before Judge Ken Hayden in Miller County Circuit Court. The charges carry a mandatory life in prison sentence.

Monday's plea all but closes the case, which over the course of many years underwent continuances, delays and stricken jury trials. The case began in 2009 when Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Howard charged Fisher with two counts of forcible sodomy against the man’s five-month-old infant daughter on October 27, 2009. The infant was in Fisher's care at his home near Brumley.

According to court documents, the infant had signs of “apparent physical and sexual child abuse” as described by the Sexual Assault Response Team at Lake Regional Hospital.

The infant, identified only by initials and gender in the court documents, was later transferred to the University of Missouri-Columbia Hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery. The infant was bleeding internally, had sustained a head injury and had several broken bones. In a statement given to the Miller County Sheriff's Department on Oct. 29, Fisher admitted that while the infant had been in his care, he had “watched some pornographic media.” He then described in detail what he had done to the infant.
After accepting the guilty pleas, Hayden ordered a presentence investigation and sentencing assessment report to be prepared by the Missouri of Division Probation and Parole and set the case for a final sentencing hearing on Nov. 6.  

As a result of the guilty pleas from Fisher, the prosecutor’s office agreed to withhold filing any other charges in the case.  Howard noted that the charges brought against Fisher are unclassified felonies under Missouri law, for which the only authorized punishment on each separate count is a life sentence in prison without eligibility for any probation or parole, until after a minimum of 30 years has been served.  

The guilty pleas were entered without any agreement on sentencing, so the court will have discretion to decide whether or not the two mandatory life sentences will be served consecutively to one another.   

The parental rights of both of the child’s parents were permanently terminated after the charges were brought by Howard’s office.  Fisher is currently serving a separate sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections for damaging jail property while being held in Miller County following his initial arrest in the case.