Two women have pled guilty to encouraging 3-year-old boys at Hands of Our Future Daycare in Dover to fight and videotaping the incident this past summer.
Estefania Myers, 21, of Felton, and Lisa Parker, 47, of Dover, both pled guilty to assault in the second degree and conspiracy in the second degree at Delaware Superior Court in the Kent County Courthouse Wednesday, Delaware Department of Justice spokesman Jason Miller said. These charges are classified as felonies.
Myers was sentenced to one year of Level III intensive probation and was ordered to have no contact with the victims, Miller said. Superior Court Judge Robert Young had sentenced her to 10 years in prison but immediately suspended that sentence in light of her plea deal with state prosecutors.
As part of her plea deal, Myers agreed to testify truthfully against her co-defendants, Miller said.
As for Parker, Deputy Attorney General Susan Schmidhauser asked for a pre-sentence investigation to be completed by the court for Parker, and that request was granted, Miller said. Therefore, sentencing for Parker is scheduled for Jan. 30.
Myers, Parker and the third defendant, Tianna Harris, 19, of Dover, were initially charged with two counts of assault in the second degree, nine counts of endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of reckless endangering in the second degree and one count of conspiracy, Dover Police said. But several of those charges were dropped as part of their plea deals with state prosecutors.
The third suspect, Harris, is scheduled for final case review and trial on Monday, Miller said. Harris' final case review was reschedule for Wednesday, but it was moved to Monday because her defense attorney was ill.
The city of Dover closed down the Hands of Our Future Daycare in south Dover in August after the three employees were arrested by Dover Police, officials said. The daycare reopened in October on probation.
An investigation by Dover PD's Criminal Investigation Unit led to the arrests of the three women after detectives viewed cell phone video of the incident that occurred in March of 2012 where the three female employees watched and encouraged two 3-year-olds to fight each other while at the daycare, Dover Police Capt. Tim Stump had said.
A Dover police officer found the video of children being encouraged and even forced to fight on the cell phone of Harris while he was investigating an unrelated criminal compliant, Stump said. The officer turned the video over to detectives.
Stump called the video "one of the most shocking and infuriating" he had seen during 23 years of law enforcement.
"We entrust these people tot take care of our children," he said. "When parents drop their children off, they expect that their kids will be looked after. This certainly was not the case here."