A couple accused of shattering a toddler’s leg and damaging his organs pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder charges.
Hannah Wingert, who was 20 when arrested, is set for a Feb. 6, 2024, trial date. She gave her not-guilty plea Monday before Laramie County District Court Judge Steven Sharpe.
Joshua Moody, 21, who is her boyfriend and codefendant, faces the same charges Wingert does: first-degree attempted murder and aggravated child abuse. He gave his not-guilty plea Monday morning to a different judge, Judge Catherine Rogers, in the Laramie County District Court, and is set for trial Jan. 16.
There’s a chance the case prosecutor will try to join the two cases so that they have one shared trial, Wingert’s public defense attorney Brandon Booth told Laramie County District Court Judge Steven Sharpe during Wingert’s arraignment.
Sharpe said he would discuss that with Rogers and is willing to hear an argument on it.
Moody and Wingert could spend life in prison if convicted of trying to kill Wingert’s 2-year-old son by brutally beating him. Each also faces an aggravated child abuse charge punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
The allegations date back to about Aug. 23, when Moody and Wingert were staying in a Cheyenne motel room together along with the little boy, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.
They ended up in the motel room after police deemed it was “unacceptable” for the toddler to be living in a car, as he had been, along with his mother.
When Winger’s mother picked up Wingert two days later, she noticed the boy “looked horrible,” had significant bruising and injuries to his face and arms and was wearing a strange homemade brace on his right leg, the affidavit alleges.
The mother called the Cheyenne Police Department.
Authorities took the boy to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, but personnel there soon determined his injuries were life-threatening. They called for a helicopter to take the boy to Denver Children’s Hospital.
The primary diagnosis indicated non-accidental trauma.
The toddler had a brain bleed, other blood pockets under his skin, pancreatitis, acute kidney injury, cuts on his liver, two burst eardrums and a fractured right clavicle with other injuries under it that indicated “repeated injuries to this area,” the affidavit says.
Both the tibia and fibula in his right leg were shattered, and his thoracic vertebrae appeared fractured. Both eyes were swollen shut. He had trauma to his nose and mouth, bruises, cuts, scratches and open wounds all over his body, and apparent liver and pancreas trauma.
Boyfriend Blames Girlfriend
In his own police interview, Moody claimed that Wingert started beating the boy and punching him in the motel room, eventually swinging him like a baseball bat across her body until he hit her shoulder.
Then she put the boy back on the bed and covered his mouth while he screamed out in pain, Moody claimed, according to the affidavit.
Moody’s interviewer questioned him about his own violent history.
“Joshua (Moody) acknowledged his history of domestic violence and assaults towards women, but said he has ‘left that life behind,’” the affidavit relates from the interview.
When police arrested Wingert, she mourned the loss of her son, the affidavit says.
“I didn’t mean for any of this to happen,” she reportedly said, adding, “I didn’t get to tell him sorry and goodbye.”
Wingert and Moody’s cases are ongoing.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.