Woman gets 15 years in child abuse case

Published 8:43 am Monday, August 26, 2019

Alexandria Ufalla Nelson, 20, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced charge of attempted aggravated child abuse in Carter County Criminal Court.

Nelson was originally charged, along with the victim’s boyfriend, Cory Brett Scalf, 21, in a two-count presentment handed down by a grand jury May 2, 2018 of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect; both class A felonies.

The presentment alleged, “that between 21st day of July, 2017 and the 19th day of December, 2017 [Nelson and Scalf]…knowingly abus[ed]…a child being eight (8) years of age or less, in such a manner [that] resulted in serious bodily injury to the child…”

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Criminal Court Judge Lisa Rice sentenced Nelson to 15 years in prison. Nelson will have to serve 35 percent of her sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Nelson’s codefendant, Scalf, also pleaded guilty in October to aggravated child neglect for which he received a 15-year sentence as well. However, unlike Nelson, he will have to spend 85 percent of it before gets to meet a parole board. Scalf also pleaded guilty to reduced charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit theft over $2,500.

On December 19, 2017, an alert Walmart manager who noticed bruising on the one-year-old male victim sparked the charges against Nelson and Scalf. The manager called the Elizabethton Police Department.

According to police records, EPD Corporal James Deese was one of the officers that arrived on the scene and after locating the boy, he immediately notified child protective services investigator Emily Hodges. Hodges told the parents that the boy would need medical attention and was at one point taken to Sycamore Shoals Hospital.

When the little boy’s parents were questioned, they denied causing injuries to the child, which consisted of broken bones and bruising, insisting that instead another boy had caused the bruising. They also told investigators that the victim had “recently fell after turning around too fast away from a dog.”

EPD Investigator Samantha Maney said in her report that the couple eventually admitted to “causing injuries” to the 1-year-old.

Rice dismissed the charges of aggravated child abuse that was part of the presentment against both Nelson and Scalf.