Videotaped Beating Mom Pleads Guilty

Madelyne Toogood leaves the St Joseph County Courthouse, Friday Feb. 14, 2003, in South Bend, Ind. Toogood accepted a plea offer Friday to resolve the criminal charges filed after she was shown on a store surveillance videotape repeatedly striking her 4-year-old daughter in a parking lot. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond) AP

A mother pled guilty to a felony battery charge Friday in connection to a store surveillance videotape that showed the woman repeatedly striking her 4-year-old daughter in a parking lot.

The judge sentenced Madelyne Toogood, 26, under misdemeanor guidelines, giving her a one-year suspended sentence, with a year of probation and a $500 fine. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of battery of a child and a misdemeanor charge of giving police officers a false address.

The case drew nationwide attention in September after a surveillance camera videotape at a Mishawaka, Indiana, department store was played showing her repeatedly hitting and shaking her child.

Toogood sobbed uncontrollably while testifying during Friday's hearing, prompting her husband to leave the courtroom.

"I've pretty much been crucified by everything that's happened," Toogood said. "I don't know if my life will ever be the same. I've been persecuted by the press."

Judge William H. Albright had set Friday as a deadline for a plea agreement to be reached. Former county Prosecutor Christopher Toth had said he would not offer a deal to Toogood, but Toth lost his re-election bid in November.

Defense attorney Rocket Rosen argued that Toogood did not deserve jail time for her actions.

"She's been shamed. Her family has been shamed," Rosen said.

Toogood's daughter is living with her maternal grandmother while Toogood works to regain custody. She has been ordered to undergo counseling and to take classes in parenting and rage control.

Rosen said he believed Toogood hit her daughter because the girl misbehaved in the store, taking toys out of packages and wandering away, prompting store employees to page Toogood twice.

By Tim Coyne
  • Lloyd Vries