Raleigh mother charged with biting child, breaking ribs

Felony child abuse charges filed against 34-year-old Raleigh woman.
Police have charged a 34-year-old Raleigh mother with biting her 16-week-old baby and breaking the child's ribs and shoulder blades.

Mary Martin Peele, of Okelly St., was arrested by Raleigh Police Department detectives Monday.

She's charged with one count of felony child abuse inflicting serious injury and one count of misdemeanor child abuse.

According to arrest warrants obtained by ABC11, Peele allegedly broke 12 of her baby's ribs and both scapula bones. She also allegedly made a deep bite wound on the boy's shoulder.

The warrants list a date range between the end of May and mid-July for the alleged incidents.

Bond for Peele was originally set at $250,000. She was ordered not to have contact with any minor under the age of 18 without supervision.

Peele appeared in a Raleigh courtroom Tuesday afternoon for a preliminary hearing. Defense attorney Damon Chetson said Peele has no criminal history and worked for years as a nanny with no complaints of mistreatment.

Chetson said the baby is Peele's "dream child" after suffering numerous miscarriages and his client will fight the charges.

"She stands here telling the court she is not guilty of these charges, and she wants to mount a defense," said Chetson.

Prosecutor Melanie Shekita said the baby's injuries were akin to something he might have suffered in a car accident and were not something he could have done to himself.

"For the first 16 weeks of this child's life someone tortured him. I have grave concerns that if this woman had not presented him to the hospital, and I have no reason to believe that she didn't do that, that he could have ended up dead," said Shekita.

Shekita also said Peele has been telling people the baby has some kind of bone disorder, but that is not the case.

Judge Jacqueline Brewer told Peele she could face up to 32 years, 9 months in prison on the felony intentional child abuse charge alone.

She raised Peele's bond to $400,000.

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