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Couple enter not guilty pleas to assault charges

March 06, 2003|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Mercersburg, Pa., couple whose 3-month-old baby girl sustained critical head injuries in December waived arraignment and pleaded not guilty to charges filed against them in Franklin County Court Wednesday.

Robin Stake, 24, of 2 E. Seminary St., is charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children, court records said. His wife, Pamela Stake, 21, of the same address, is charged with endangering the welfare of children.

The couple entered their pleas Wednesday and their cases will be listed in the May trial term, according to court records.

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The couple was arrested in January, one month after the injuries to the baby occurred, court records show.

The injuries were "consistent with abusive head trauma," a physician who treated the baby at Penn State Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., told Mercersburg Police Chief Larry Thomas, according to court records. The physician said there was no other reasonable explanation from the parents to account for the injuries.

The Stakes did not bring the child, Gemini Stake, to the emergency room until Dec. 14, days after her medical problems began, according to court records.

Mark S. Dias, a neurosurgeon at Hershey, said in a statement to Thomas that the baby had a subdural hemorrhage with a bulging soft spot that was under pressure. She also suffered from a retinal hemorrhage, court records said.

Dias said the injuries were potentially life threatening and left the child at considerable risk of visual loss, brain damage, seizures, developmental delays and mental retardation, court records said.

Thomas said the child has been released from the hospital and was turned over to the custody of Franklin County Children and Youth.

Pamela Stake told Thomas her husband was home alone with the child while she was at work, court records said. Robin Stake had fed the baby and was getting her ready for her nap when she started screaming and stiffened up, court records said.

When Pamela Stake came home from work, she told Thomas, the child was crying inconsolably in an unusual manner. She acted strange, was not eating well, was constipated and had not had a bowel movement during the four days, according to court records.

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