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Oct 2, 2012 9:07 AM by AP/CS

Child abuse suspects get separate trials

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state judge has ruled that a Baton Rouge couple accused of abusing their 20-month-old son in 2009, including allegedly leaving a burn mark from a fork on his body, will be tried separately, over a prosecutor's objections.

The Advocate reports Steven Staggs, the boy's father, and Charlotte Staggs, the child's stepmother, are scheduled to stand trial Oct. 22 on one count each of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, which carries up to 40 years in prison.

Prosecutor Charles Grey said he is inclined to try Charlotte Staggs first, on Oct. 22. Steven Staggs would be tried at a later date that has not been set.

Grey argued at a hearing Monday that Steven and Charlotte Staggs do not have "antagonistic defenses" and should be tried together.

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