Woman Pleads Guilty to Abusing Stepdaughter

Woman Pleads Guilty to Abusing Stepdaughter

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BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) -- A woman charged with attempted murder in the beating of her 2-year-old stepdaughter pleaded guilty to lesser charges of child abuse.

In return for pleading to two counts of second-degree child abuse, prosecutors dropped the two attempted murder charges against Alyson Barfuss Johns, 21. Instead of facing up to life in prison, the lesser charges carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

The plea agreement was announced Monday. Johns is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 3, although a psychiatric evaluation is expected to delay the hearing.

Johns was arrested Feb. 16 for stepping on and dropping Graycee Auger, the Box Elder County Attorney's Office said.

The abuse occurred Feb. 15 in Brigham City, where the Logan girl was visiting Johns and her biological father. Graycee suffered a fractured skull, bruising and internal injuries which required surgery.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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