More than eight years and two court cases later, a disturbing assault of an infant in Miller County has finally been adjudicated.

More than eight years and two court cases later, a disturbing assault of an infant in Miller County has finally been adjudicated. 

Aaron Michael Fisher pled guilty to first degree assault of a special victim, a Class A felony, in Laclede County Circuit Court in Lebanon on Friday, January 19, 2018. He has been sentenced to 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. 

“Although I asked the court for a larger sentence I respect this decision and hope it will help everyone touched by Fisher’s crimes move forward,” Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Winfrey commented.

Fisher assaulted his five-month-old daughter on October 27, 2009. The girl is now nearly nine years old.

According to a statement released by Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Winfrey, Fisher specifically admitted he “knowingly caused serious physical injury” to his five-month-old daughter by “striking her” on October 27, 2009.

The child and an older sibling were adopted after Fisher’s 2009 arrest and mother Samantha Widman’s guilty plea for a related child endangerment charge.

The case was transferred to Laclede on a change of venue after the assault charge was filed in late 2016. A jury trial had been set to begin January 8, 2018, but was cancelled at the last minute. 

Fisher’s guilty plea was an open plea and not part of a plea bargain or deal. The sentencing was up to the judge.

The range of punishment for a Class A felony is 10 to 30 years. While first degree assault is usually a Class B felony, state law makes it Class A when a special victim is involved — in this case, an infant.

Following Fisher's guilty plea, a sentencing hearing was conducted with Judge Peggy Richardson hearing evidence.

The State called the adopted mother and father and biological mother of Fisher’s victim to testify. Winfrey then asked the court to sentence Fisher to 20 years in prison because the “Miller County community and Fisher’s victim deserve justice,” according to the release from Winfrey. The prosecutor also reminded the judge that Fisher admitted to police that he sexually assaulted his daughter before hitting her which showed his “depravity and malice.”

The court ordered Fisher to 15 years in prison, however, stating that the sentence was separate from the jail time Fisher served in a previous case for allegedly sodomizing his daughter, according to the information released by Winfrey.

In addition to the 15 years, the 29-year-old has already served six years in jail while an initial court case related to this incident proceeded through the judicial system. Held without bond while charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, he was charged with damaging jail property and served his sentence on that charge while being held on the initial case.

The original court case got drug out in the system after an initial request for a speedy trial by Fisher. Documentation in the case failed to record the party that requested the delays, and in 2015, a new judge assigned to the case released Fisher on grounds that his constitutional rights had been violated as a result of a motion by the defendant’s attorney at the time.

During this period, Miller County changed prosecutors. Matt Howard had filed the original charges, but Benjamin Winfrey took over the case after he was elected in 2014.

Following his release, Fisher moved Toledo, Ohio, but was taken back into custody in November 2016 after Miller County Prosecutor Benjamin Winfrey filed the new charge of assault. 

An appeal of the dismissal of the original charges was denied.

Fisher was extradited to Miller County. His attorney filed motions to dismiss for violations of his speedy trial rights, double jeopardy and res judicator (which means a matter that has already been competently adjudicated). Those motions were denied by the Laclede County Circuit Court and Missouri’s Southern District Courts of Appeals.

On October 28, 2009, the child was admitted to Lake Regional Hospital with apparent signs of physical and sexual abuse, diagnosed specifically with “numerous facial bruises, a left acute mildly displaced comminuted left parietal and non displaced left occipital skull fracture, a large scalp contusion; an acute bilateral frontal subarachnoid and parafalcine subdural hemorrhages; and extensive pre, intra, and sub retinal hemorrhages,” according to the probable cause statement.

On October 29, 2009, Fisher confessed to assaulting and sodomizing his infant daughter, saying that the child “wouldn’t stop crying after he sodomized her, so he hit her in the head with his fist as hard as he could. The above defendant stated he wanted [victim] to die,” according to court documents.

But Fisher later recanted, claiming he could not recall what happened, and the confession was thrown out of the record.

Winfrey concluded thanking people for their patience in bringing Aaron Fisher to justice and thanking the Miller County Sheriff's Department for investigating and Sherrie Hamner from the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services for her assistance.