Grandmother speaks out about Shaken Baby Syndrome

Maryann Williamson speaks to Fulton Rotary members Wednesday about her experience working with lawmakers to try and pass legislation that would outline stricter punishments for those guilty of shaking a baby.

Maryann Williamson speaks to Fulton Rotary members Wednesday about her experience working with lawmakers to try and pass legislation that would outline stricter punishments for those guilty of shaking a baby. Photo by Mandi Steele.

Since the loss of her 11-month-old granddaughter on Nov. 7, 1999, Maryann Williamson has been fighting for the same thing for 12 years — justice.

Williamson, of Columbia, spoke at the Fulton Rotary Club meeting Wednesday about her granddaughter being a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome and the fight for stricter punishment to be imposed on those who shake babies. Rep. Jeannie Riddle also attended the meeting to describe the challenges that exist with passing legislation such as the piece Williamson has been promoting.

Williamson has been working with Riddle and Sen. Kurt Schaefer on legislation that would increase the penalty for those who endanger the welfare of a child by shaking.

Williamson told Rotary members about how her daughter’s boyfriend shook her granddaughter, Karra Paige, so hard that she suffered irreversible brain damage, bruises, a fractured skull and detached retinas.

“My world was shattered,” she said. “My life will never be the same.”

She said the man responsible for Karra’s death spent four years of a seven-year sentence in prison. Williamson noted how his punishment did not fit his crime. When she was at the hospital with Karra, Williamson said she made a promise to Karra that she would see to it that those who hurt innocent children should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“It’s time to do what we can for other children and make sure that the punishment fits the crime,” she said.

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