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Stepmother pleads guilty in girl's death

The stepmother of Ianna D. Maybee has pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the death of the 3-year-old girl in her home last March 21.

Stephanie Pierce, 32, entered the plea Sept. 22 before Cattaraugus County Court Judge Larry M. Himelein, who scheduled sentencing for Dec. 15. Pierce remains free on $10,000 bail.

Pierce, her two children, Ianna and her father, Guy E. Maybee, 27, lived together on Old Route 17 in the Town of Salamanca on the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation of Indians. They had lived there together about 2 1/2 months in a house next to Maybee's parents, officials said.

Court records show that Maybee fatally assaulted his daughter and that Pierce was present at the time.

During a court hearing March 25, Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Detective William Welling, who was at the autopsy, testified that Ianna suffered a broken clavicle and ribs, a damaged spinal cord, severe bleeding on the right side of her brain, multiple bruises and internal bleeding caused by a lacerated liver.

Pierce called 911 about 1 p.m. March 21 after she found Ianna, still in her pajamas, not breathing.

Maybee and Pierce were both indicted by a grand jury on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, two counts of second-degree assault and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Maybee was additionally charged with first-degree manslaughter and reckless assault of a child.

Maybee has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held in Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.

On Tuesday, a hearing was held before Himelein to determine whether statements Maybee made to police will be admissible as evidence in his trial. Himelein did not release his decision.

Himelein said he dismissed charges of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment against Pierce because "there was no evidence she did anything to the child."

Pierce's plea is an admission that she did not seek medical attention or call 911 while Ianna was being attacked, Himelein said.

Pierce's plea also covers a violation of probation charge for a forged prescription in 2004.

Pierce still faces charges of abuse and neglect in Cattaraugus County Family Court.

Williams said Tuesday that Pierce "has agreed to cooperate and testify against Maybee."

Pierce was the victim of domestic violence while living with Maybee, Williams said.

"She was afraid of him and had bruises on her body when she was taken into custody. She regrets she didn't take action," he said.

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