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Martin man taken back into custody

Martin man taken back into custody
In a shocking turn of events during a court hearing last Thursday, an accused child abuser was placed back into the custody of the Weakley County Detention Center. Sandra Nichols, mother of 21-year-old Wesley Griffin of Martin, requested her name be removed from a signature bond issued earlier this year for her son. Griffin pled guilty to one charge of aggravated assault in front of 27th Judicial District Judge William Acree on Thursday. Griffin was arrested last year after his toddler son had suffered life-threatening injuries. Austin Cash, 19 months old at the time the abuse occurred, sustained two skull fractures as well as brain injuries in July 2007. His biological father, Griffin and his stepmother Tiffani Callahan-Griffin, were accused of aggravated child and abuse and neglect. Griffin remained jailed on a $150,000 bond until Acree agreed to reduce the bond in February of this year. Nichols asked Acree to remove her name from the bond last week. “Can I ask why you want your name removed from your son’s bond,” Acree said during the court hearing. “When I signed the bond, the agreement was for Wesley to stay with me so that I could keep up with what he was doing. He is no longer with me and I am not sure if he is a flight risk,” Nichols replied. Acree granted the mother’s request, which sent Griffin back to jail after his guilty plea on Thursday. Nichols later said she was trying to protect her son because he is now with his estranged wife and she doesn’t want to risk the couple fleeing before their sentencing hearing. “I think that was has happened to Austin is unspeakable and incomprehensible. The evilness that has befallen my grandson is horrible. There are bruises and burns people are seeing on children and DCS is ignoring those problems,” Nichols commented. “It’s too late for Austin and I want justice and peace. But it is not too late for other children. If you suspect abuse and get no results locally, do not give up. I did and now our precious grandson will never be the same,” Nichols added. She encouraged those who suspect child abuse to report it and not to stop until results are seen even if it means calling Nashville or Memphis authorities. Griffin’s mother also said she did not believe her son was capable of such abuse, but felt he needed to seek mental health treatment. Acree explained to Griffin his guilty plea for aggravated assault carries a punishment of three to six years with the Tennessee Department of Corrections and a fine up to $10,000. The charge of aggravated child abuse and neglect was dismissed. “It has been determined that the injuries the child suffered were not accidental. Wesley Griffin was in control and care of Austin cash. He has pled guilty to failing to protect his child form serious bodily injury,” Attorney General Tommy Thomas stated in court. Thomas added the State is still uncertain as to who caused the actual injuries to the child. Cash, who is almost three years old, is now in the custody of his maternal great-grandparents in Milan. Robert and Doris Cash admitted the child is still unable to walk and must be fed through a feeding tube. They added his recovery is a slow process and he has a long road ahead of him. A sentencing date for the couple is set for Nov. 18. Dr. Karen Lakin, a pediatric specialist with LeBonheur Children’s Hospital of Memphis will testify that day in Circuit Court. Lakin provided medical treatment of Cash when he spent two months at the hospital in Memphis. The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. that day.

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