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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Rocky Mount man guilty of placing toddler in scalding water
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Shaquille Edward Hancock

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer

A Rocky Mount man was found guilty Tuesday in Franklin County Circuit Court of child abuse and injuring a child for placing a toddler in scalding hot water.

Franklin County Circuit Court Judge W.N. Alexander II ruled that Shaquille Edward Hancock, 20, was guilty beyond reasonable doubt, based on the evidence presented during a trial that lasted more than two hours.

Hot water was the only logical conclusion as to what caused the child's injuries, Alexander said.

The mother of the 2-year-old boy testified that she noticed blisters on the child's feet on the evening of March 13 when she returned home from work. Hancock kept the toddler while she was at work.

Hancock testified that he gave the boy a bath on the morning of March 13 while the mother was at work after the child got food on his face and chest while eating. Hancock said the child never cried during the bath.

The mother testified that she took her son to Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital on March 13. Two doctors from the emergency room testified during the trial.

Dr. Megan Hill said the child had blisters on his feet, legs and buttocks. She said the blisters were caused by either burns or an allergic reaction.

Dr. Benjamin Philpott also testified that such blisters could have been caused by burns or an allergic reaction. However, Philpott said he had never seen blisters like that on the child to be caused by an allergic reaction.

Dr. Robin Foster, director of emergency pediatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), testified that she examined the child on March 16 after the child was brought to the VCU Hospital. Foster said the blisters on the child were immersion burns from hot water and were not consistent with an allergic reaction.

Prosecutor Patrick Nix suggested that Hancock put the child in scalding water because he was upset after the boy spilled food.

"We believe the burns on the child were caused by the defendant (Hancock)," Nix said, "and there is no evidence that the child may have turned the hot water on himself."

Edward Cooley, Hancock's attorney, argued that it was not determined when the injuries exactly occurred to the child and "we don't know what happened exactly."

Cooley also pointed out that one of the doctors at Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital said the blisters on the child were either caused by and allergic reaction or by burns.

A sentencing hearing for Hancock is set for Oct. 23 at 3 p.m. in circuit court. Both charges are Class 6 felonies, punishable by one to five years, or jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both.

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