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Caroline man takes plea deal in 'horrific' child abuse case
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Caroline man takes plea deal in 'horrific' child abuse case

Edward Childs.jpg (copy)


A man who was arrested in 2019 for his role in the “horrific” abuse of a 7-year-old boy in Caroline County accepted a deal Wednesday that will require him to serve no more than seven years in prison.

Edward Prince Childs, 41, of Woodford, was convicted of child abuse in Caroline Circuit Court. Childs entered an Alford plea to the charge, meaning he doesn’t admit guilt but acknowledged that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction.

In exchange for Childs’ plea, prosecutors Kara Powell and Ben Heidt dropped seven other charges, including abduction and aggravated malicious wounding.

The plea came just before a scheduled three-day jury trial. Jurors were already assembled when the deal was finalized.

Childs and the boy’s mother, Ashley Ann Karam, will both be sentenced Sept. 29 by Judge Gordon Willis. Karam previously pleaded guilty to aggravated malicious wounding and abduction and could receive as much as life in prison.

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According to the evidence, the abuse took place between September 2018 and May 2019 at a home in the 6100 block of Mudville Road. On May 19, the boy escaped from his residence and showed up at a neighbor’s home with extensive injuries and begging for help.

Among his injuries were a black eye, busted lip, missing teeth and bruises and cuts all over his body. He also had duct tape around his neck. Court records state that he had “extremely low” hemoglobin levels and required a blood transfusion.

The boy was taken to the VCU Medical Center in Richmond for treatment and is now in foster care.

Evidence presented previously in court showed that the boy had been tied to a bed that had blood and urine all over it. Next to the bed were extension cords and whips that had been used to torture the child.

A previous prosecutor called the case the “most evil and horrific child abuse case I’ve ever seen or heard.”

Tim Barbrow, Childs’ attorney, said his client continues to insist that he never harmed the boy. He said Childs was with his mother in her home and at two hospitals during most of the times referenced in court records, and Barbrow referred to an interview Karam had with a Caroline investigator in which she admitted she “snapped and lost it” and denied any involvement by Childs.

But the boy said Childs also abused him and Barbrow said Childs decided against taking his chances with a jury.

Karam, who will turn 32 Sunday, was convicted of child abuse in Caroline in 2012. That case also involved one of her children, who ended up in foster care.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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