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Decatur man who pretended baby was left in the cold gets 18 months in prison

Decatur man who pretended baby was left in the cold gets 18 months in prison

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DECATUR — Norman L. Gates, who refused to hand a 6-month-old baby left in his care back to its mother and at one point pretended he had left the baby outside to face the danger of freezing to death, was sent to prison for 18 months Thursday.

Gates, 24, was sentenced by Macon County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Griffith after pleading guilty to child abduction. The plea and sentence was part of a plea deal negotiated by his defense attorney, Michelle Sanders, that saw an additional charge of filing a false report of an offense dismissed.

Sanders had earlier explained to the judge that Gates is the “putative father” of the baby boy but his paternity has not been proven.

A sworn Decatur Police affidavit about the case said the mother of the then 6-month-old baby had allowed Gates to take the boy for a visit on Feb. 20. Gates had then refused to return the child when the mother’s sister arrived to collect him sometime later. Both Gates and the baby were gone at 11 p.m. when police were called in and arrived at the apartment he shares with a new girlfriend.

Writing in the affidavit, Officer Jacquelyn Danner said Gates would not answer repeated phone calls from the desperate mother worried about the fate of her son. Danner said when Gates did respond, it was only to taunt the mother and imply he had abandoned the child outside in the street in the cold. The temperature fell to 19 degrees that night.

“Go find him, (expletive)," Danner quotes Gates as telling the baby’s mother. "I don't know where he’s at; I don’t got him. Better find him before he freezes."

Danner said Gates even called 911 to claim the baby’s mother was “going to endanger his child” and police were able to track the location of the call and found Gates near the intersection of East William and North Stone streets. Before being arrested he told police the baby was actually at the address of a woman he knew living nearby, and that was where the child was found, safe and unharmed, at 12:35 a.m.

Mug shots from the Herald & Review 

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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