FREDERICK, MD – Late this afternoon in Frederick County Circuit Court, Jason Michael Colley, age 42, of Monrovia entered an Alford plea to two counts of 1st degree assault. An Alford plea is a type of guilty plea in which a defendant maintains their innocence but admits that the prosecution’s evidence would likely result in a guilty verdict if brought to trial. The State argued that the court sentence the defendant to a term in the Division of Corrections within the sentencing guidelines of eight to eighteen years based on the two counts, followed by five years of supervised probation. The defense argued for a term of home detention. Judge Julia A. Martz-Fisher sentenced Colley to a combined fifty years suspending all but eight years to be served on private home detention. The defendant was also ordered to serve five years of supervised probation with additional terms that he not engage in physical punishment of children. The plea agreement comes following four days of jury selection for what was slated to be a lengthy trial.
In response to the plea, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith commented, “the death of this child is certainly a tragedy and is also certainly a crime. Maryland state guidelines are in place to ensure consistency in sentencing. We strongly believe a guidelines prison sentence was warranted, but the judge believed differently.”
On September 19, 2017, Troopers with the Maryland State Police responded to the 12000 block of Fingerboard Road in Monrovia for the report of a sick or injured subject. The call came in as 6-month-old female infant that was having seizures and not breathing. The 911 caller was the defendant, Jason Colley. The infant was transported to Shady Grove Hospital in Montgomery County. The infant was later flown to Children’s Hospital in the District of Columbia where she later passed away.
Over the course of a lengthy investigation, detectives determined that the infant’s traumatic brain injury could not have been caused by an accident or illness, but by an intentional act.
The State was represented by Chief Assistant State’s Attorney Tammy Leache and Assistant State’s Attorney Lindsey Carpenter.