Atchley gets less than a year in jail for covering up child’s death
By Annette Christie
Autumn Atchley was sentenced Monday, February 6 to 270 days in jail with credit for 30 days already served for her role in the cover-up of her son’s death.
Atchley left her eight-month-old son Carter Donovan in the care of her then boyfriend Brandon Beshires on February 19, 2016 while she went to a doctor’s appointment. Following the doctor’s appointment and upon rejoining Beshires and her son, she noticed something wrong with the baby. While she did take her son to the hospital after noticing a problem with him, she lied to hospital staff and the police about who her son had been with according to police reports.
Carter Donovan died of severe head injuries and last week, Brandon Beshires was sentenced to life in prison for the crime of first-degree murder in connection with Donovan’s death.
Atchley had pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact with regard to her son’s death. A motion filed last week by the defendant to have that plea reversed had since been withdrawn. A no contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes. The charge she pleaded no contest to is a five-year felony.
During her arraignment appearance in court, she told the court that she was afraid of Beshires and that is why she lied. She said then that she had nothing to hide and that she wanted to testify against Beshires.
Published reports stated that the Prosecutor asked Judge Arthur Cotter to sentence Atchley to serve time in prison for three to five years however Cotter went with the lesser sentence. The Judge had stated from the bench in Beshires’ trial that in his 30 years of being in the justice system, he has never seen photos of a child’s skull so fractured as that of Carter Donovan.
During the court hearing it was stated that Atchley is fighting for the parental rights of another child, one she had two months ago, one who is also a boy. The father of the child was not revealed.