AP

NOVEMBER 10, 06:28 EST

Conviction in Quadruplets Abusing
By JOLYN OKIMOTO
Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX (AP) — A woman has been convicted of child abuse for shaking her quadruplets so hard that they suffered fractured skulls, brain damage and other injuries. One child was left blind and deaf.

Elizabeth Whittle, 25, muttered, ``I never hurt my babies,'' bowing her head and sobbing Tuesday.

Her husband, Anthony Perez, was convicted of failing to notify authorities or get prompt medical attention for the infants.

Three months after being showered with gifts at the birth of her quadruplets in 1998, Ms. Whittle was allegedly overheard making a chilling admission about one of her babies: ``I think I shook it too hard this time. I may have broke its back.''

Ms. Whittle was convicted of 13 of 14 counts of child abuse. She could get 103 to 251 years in prison at sentencing Dec. 9.

The quadruplets were hospitalized in April with skull fractures and broken bones that medical experts testified were the result of shaken-baby syndrome.

The injuries, which included brain damage, retinal hemorrhage, broken ribs, arms and legs, were similar to those caused by a car crash, prosecutor Karen O'Connor said.

Babies Robert, Damian and Megan have mostly recovered but are prone to seizures.

Anthony and Megan are showing signs of cerebral palsy as a result of the brain injuries they suffered, state medical expert Dr. Kim Manwaring testified. Anthony was also left deaf and blind from his injuries.

Whittle's attorneys said the injuries were caused by Whittle's daughter Erica, who has Down syndrome and was 6 at the time the infants were hospitalized in 1998. Prosecutors said the injuries were too severe to have been caused by a child.

Kathi Norton, a court-appointed special guardian for the quadruplets, said, ``I'm just glad justice has been served for those babies.''

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