A Roanoke woman found guilty of hurting an infant she was babysitting has been ordered to serve a year and a half behind bars.

Leanna Flora Pagans, 30, pleaded no contest in October to one count of child abuse and neglect. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors dropped a second, lesser felony charge of cruelty to a child.

Pagans, who is also known as Leanna Hagwood, was charged in 2018 and has been in custody since July.

At the plea hearing, Roanoke assistant prosecutor David Billingsley said that in September 2017, Pagans was caring for a 4-month-old girl on weekdays between 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The child began showing signs of illness, but Billingsley said no suspicions arose until the infant “began to backslide” and, at the end of that month, experienced “seizure-like activity” while in the care of Pagans. She denied knowledge of possible causes.

The baby was hospitalized for more than a week, and doctors discovered subdural and retinal hemorrhages, “both old and new bleeds,” as well as a right clavicle fracture that was healing, Billingsley said.

Although he categorized those injuries as serious, he said they were not life-threatening.

At Pagans’ sentencing Tuesday, defense attorney Darren Haley said she was suffering from opiate addiction at the time of the incident and does not know what happened.

Pagans apologized to the child’s parents, who were at the hearing.

“We are very lucky that we are not talking about a 12- to 17-year sentence,” Judge Chris Clemens told her, citing a case that had recently come before him in which similar shaking injuries led to an infant’s death.

Clemens ordered her to serve one year and six months, a term just slightly below the midpoint of her sentencing guidelines. She also carries 3½ years in suspended time and must be on post-release supervision for three years.

Get breaking news delivered straight to your inbox with our email newsletter.

Recommended for you