Woman pleads guilty to perjury

URBANA — A young mother who lied in court about how her infant daughter was injured to protect her boyfriend has been convicted of perjury.

Shariya Brothern, 21, who listed an address in the 1500 of Hunter Street, Urbana, pleaded guilty to that felony offense Friday before Judge Heidi Ladd and was sentenced to a year of conditional discharge.

Assistant State's Attorney Scott Bennett said in a juvenile abuse and neglect case in January 2013, and again in the criminal prosecution of Dwayne S. Williams, 21, for aggravated battery to a child in October 2013, Brothern lied about how her then 2-month-old daughter received a ruptured esophagus, broken ribs, bruised organs and internal bleeding on Nov. 2, 2012.

Bennett said Brothern testified under oath that she tripped while holding the baby and fell on top of her, leading to her injuries. Two doctors said the injuries were consistent with the baby being squeezed and would not have been caused by someone falling on her.

Brothern had given the testimony in Williams' trial against the advice of her own attorney. Williams was convicted of aggravated battery to a child and sentenced to 15 years in prison for causing his daughter's injuries.

The baby was injured in a North Neil Street apartment that her parents were sharing with Williams' mother and sister. Also living with them was Williams' and Brothern's older son.

The perjury charge was filed against Brothern on the same day in January that Williams was sentenced.

Conditional discharge is a form of probation that does not require reporting to an officer. No other penalties were imposed.

Bennett said Brothern had no prior convictions.

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Skepticity wrote on June 21, 2014 at 9:06 am

A willingness to commit perjury about such serious injury to her child to protect an abusive paramour raises questions about her ability to safely parent any children.