On Thursday, January 7, 2016, in the Circuit Court of Taney County, ALEXA R. SMITH, d/o/b/ 6-24-1994, of Branson, entered a plea of guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree, without a plea agreement. Circuit Court Judge Laura Johnson accepted Smith’s guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for March 17, 2016.

The evidence in the case against Smith was that she had observed her husband, Bryan Matlock, abuse their two-month-old son in the weeks leading up to August 26, 2015. Then, on August 26, 2015, emergency personnel were called to respond to treat the unresponsive child for injuries. Smith had left her son with Matlock that day while she went to work – despite having seen Matlock previously abuse the child. Matlock initially told deputies with the Taney County Sheriff’s Office that he had accidentally fallen on the child. Later, however, Matlock admitted to intentionally injuring the child out of anger that the child would not stop crying.

Endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree is a class C felony, which carries a maximum penalty of up to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections and a fine of $5,000.00. Because she has no plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office, Smith could receive the maximum possible sentence.