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Apr 4, 2012 10:51 AM by AP

Couple decline deal in Baton Rouge cruelty case

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore says a man and woman accused of abusing their 20-month-old son in 2009 have rejected the state's offer to plead guilty in exchange for 25-year prison terms.

The Advocate reports 29-year-old Steven Staggs, the boy's father, and 25-year-old Charlotte Staggs, the child's stepmother, each are charged with one count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, which carries up to 40 years in prison.

An affidavit of probable cause said the boy was brought to a Baton Rouge hospital on Aug. 28, 2009, after swallowing a bottle of fingernail polish remover.

Steven and Charlotte Staggs were scheduled to stand trial Monday but the trial date was pushed back to June 18 at the request of their attorneys.

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