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Man enters guilty plea in baby case
Huffines gets five years in jail, five years probation for shaking baby
Michael Ray Huffines Jr. - photo by Herald File
    A man accused in Feb. 2008 of shaking his infant daughter, causing severe injuries including blindness, pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated battery.
    Bulloch County Superior Court Judge F. Gates Peed sentenced  Michael Ray Huffines Jr., 24, Holloway Lane, to 10 years — five to serve in prison, and five on probation, said Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Scott Brannen.
    Huffines was also ordered to have no contact with the child, whose name is Cheyenne,  or her mother, he said.
    Brannen  said Huffines offered no statement regarding his guilty plea during a court hearing Tuesday morning. Huffines was represented by Statesboro attorney Keith Barber.
    Bulloch County Sheriff's Inv. Walter Deal opened an investigation in Nov. 2007, after being notified by Bulloch County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) caseworkers told him the child possibly suffered from "Shaken Baby Syndrome," said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson in an earlier interview about the case.
    Deal pursued the case, conducting interviews and collecting evidence, then turned the case over to the district attorney's office in January. Further investigation by DA investigator Tom Woodrum, paired with investigations by Deal and DFCS caseworkers, resulted in enough evidence to arrest Huffines, Anderson said.
    Huffines was arrested on charges of aggravated battery and cruelty to children.
    After suffering severe brain injury due to the shaking, the baby was taken to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, then transferred to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah.
     Iris Metzger, who helped care for the infant after her injuries, said in an interview last year that the baby is blind and faces serious health challenges. The infant receives in-home nursing care,  and is fed through a gastrointestinal tube, she said.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.
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