Child abuser sentenced

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Andalusia woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for an October aggravated child abuse conviction.

Circuit Judge Charles A. “Lex” Short imposed the maximum sentence on Susan Huggins, 42, after she hid her pregnancy and then left her newborn baby in an un-insulated shed for 14 hours before taking the child to the hospital in 2007.

During today’s sentencing hearing, Huggins’s current husband testified, describing her as a “good and law-abiding person.” He acknowledged, however, that he had never heard her speak of Baby Val, with whom she has no visitation rights.

District attorney Walt Merrell said, “There is no victim more vulnerable and innocent than a newborn baby. Huggins was calculating and methodical, as she concealed her pregnancy from her husband and from doctors and made her plan to get rid of her child. It is only through the grace of God and the superhuman efforts of the doctors and nurses at Andalusia Regional Hospital that Baby Val didn’t die and that we aren’t here on a murder case.

“There is no justification or excuse for hurting a child – nothing that makes it anything other than an unspeakable act of evil. Susan Huggins belongs in prison,” he said.

Huggins showed no emotion during the trial and the sentencing hearing.

Judge Short also ordered Huggins to pay a fine of $1,000, a $200 assessment to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Fund and the costs of her prosecution.