Cheyenne Mom Who Swung Toddler 'Like A Baseball Bat' Gets 10-15 Years In Prison

A 21-year-old Cheyenne mother who swung her 2-year-old son "like a baseball bat" apologized Tuesday, saying that “he didn’t deserve this” as she was sentenced to 10-15 years in prison.

Clair McFarland

May 28, 20245 min read

Hannah Wingert, top, was sentenced to 10-15 years in prison for brutally beating her 2-year-old son. Her boyfriend at the time, Joshua Moody, below, got two to three years for being an accessory after the fact.
Hannah Wingert, top, was sentenced to 10-15 years in prison for brutally beating her 2-year-old son. Her boyfriend at the time, Joshua Moody, below, got two to three years for being an accessory after the fact. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A Cheyenne woman who brutally beat her 2-year-old son was sentenced Tuesday to 10-15 years in prison.

Hannah Wingert, 21, had earlier pleaded no contest to aggravated child abuse for beating her toddler until his brain bled and his legs shattered last August in a hotel room in Wyoming’s capital city while she was high on methamphetamine.

The boy was life-flighted to the Denver Children’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He’s now in foster care and progressing with his medical treatment, according to court testimony Wingert’s attorney, state Public Defender Diane Lozano, gave Tuesday at a sentencing hearing for Wingert.

Wingert’s boyfriend at the time of the beating, 22-year-old Joshua Moody, also was sentenced Tuesday to between two and three years in the Wyoming Department of Corrections for being an accessory after the fact to the boy’s abuse. At one point in the investigation, Moody told police Wingert had swung her son "like a baseball bat."

Laramie County District Court Judge Catherine Rodgers recommended the department place Moody in the state’s youthful offender “boot camp” program during that term.

Both Wingert and Moody had originally faced attempted murder charges, but those were dropped when the pair reached plea agreements in their cases.

‘He Didn’t Deserve Any Of This’

Wingert had a troubling childhood, started smoking marijuana and taking pills in middle school and didn’t progress past the ninth grade, according to court testimony.

Though she had pleaded “no contest,” she took responsibility for what she did to her son and delivered a tearful apology to him in court.

“It will always have a weight on my mind and conscience,” said Wingert. “I’m eternally grateful my baby boy made it out of this. He didn’t deserve any of this.”

Lozano’s statements focused on Wingert’s tough upbringing, which reportedly involved various kinds of abuse and instability, and on Wingert’s decision to relinquish her parental rights over her young son.

“Knowing what she did to her child, sitting alone in a jail cell, she came to some pretty adult and responsible realizations,” said Lozano. “There’s no doubt Miss Wingert has a long journey ahead of her.”

Lozano said the abuse happened after Wingert took methamphetamine for the first time. She said Wingert doesn’t remember the incident very well.

The defender asked Judge Rodgers to consider a four- to nine-year prison sentence, probation or the youthful offender treatment program for Wingert.

Cuts On His Liver

Laramie County District Attorney Deputy Bill Edelman urged the judge to focus on what happened to the boy.

“His injuries were life-threatening, serious enough to be fatal,” said Edelman.

The prosecutor listed pancreatitis, acute kidney injury, brain bleeds, cuts to his liver, ruptures in both ears, shattered leg bones and possible broken vertebrae, along with bruising, cuts, scratches and open wounds on his body.

“He was unable to open his eyes, as they were both swollen shut,” said Edelman.

Such an array of injuries is more indicative of a pattern of abuse, not a fluke from a woman’s first brush with methamphetamine, he added.

He recommended between 10 and 25 years in prison.

The aggravated child abuse charge to which Wingert pled carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.


Rodgers pointed to Wingert’s efforts as a young mother to get her son into treatment for his physical disabilities, which included a defect of his legs. These efforts counter ideas of chronic child abuse because abusers usually try to keep their kids away from therapists who might hold them accountable, Rodgers said.

“That makes what happened next even more confounding,” said the judge. “It seems to me difficult to reconcile the parent you started out as with the parent you became, that day in that hotel room — and the absolutely unspeakable injuries you inflicted on your child.”

Wingert had access to safe havens and charitable resources, including the hotel room someone furnished to her and Moody so they could stop living in a car for a while, Rodgers said.

These provisions make the abuse seem even worse, she added.

“You elected to walk away from those resources that were trying to support you and assist you in providing your child a safe, healthy, non-traumatic upbringing,” said Rodgers. “And now your child … is living some iteration of the tragic childhood that you lived.”

Rodgers said she hopes Wingert will use her prison time well to finish her education, to learn how to be a safe and stable person, to confront her addictions and to gain skills to use when she joins society again.

And He Apologized

During his portion of the sentencing hearing, Moody apologized to the toddler and his family.

“I really do wish I could go back and change everything,” said Moody. “Do more in the involvement — stop it — everything like that. From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry.”

When Rodgers handed down Moody’s two to three-year sentence, she did so noting that because Moody was on probation during the attack, Moody is not a good candidate for probation.

Clair McFarland can be reached at

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter