Portage baby

Gary Hanney, left, and Tamika Conley

VALPARAISO — A 25-year-old Portage woman, who pleaded guilty in the death of her child, is seeking a break in her plea agreement that has left her locked up for more than 700 days awaiting the sentencing of her former boyfriend in the case.

Tamika Conley's plea agreement says her case will be wrapped up no earlier than 30 days after the sentencing of Gary Hanney, according to a motion filed by her attorney Mark Chargualaf.

Hanney pleaded guilty May 31 to a Level 1 felony count of neglect of a dependent and was scheduled for sentencing Friday, according to court records. But the 32-year-old Wheatfield resident went along with a request by prosecutors a couple weeks ago to dismiss his plea agreement and go to trial instead.

Chargualaf argues that "less restrictive means are available to allow the Defendant's (Conley's) compliance with the terms of her plea agreement."

A hearing on the request is scheduled for Friday before Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer.

Prosecutors oppose releasing Conley on her own recognizance, arguing she is bound to comply with the terms of her plea agreement, according to a court document.

That agreement calls for Conley to cooperate and testify against Hanney, according to a response filed by Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Buitendorp.

"The defendant should not now be able to circumvent the terms of that agreement," according to Buitendorp.

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Releasing Conley on her own recognizance "is without merit as she has pleaded guilty to three level 3 felonies," prosecutors said.

Conley has the option of leaving jail by posting a $10,000 cash bond, according to court records.

Hanney is accused of battering Conley's 20-month-old daughter July 18, 2017, at his Portage home while Conley was at work. The baby died a few days later.

Hanney faces level 1 felony counts of aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent resulting in death, level 2 felony battery with the death to a person under 14 years old, two level 3 felony counts of battery resulting in serious bodily injury to a person under 14 years old and a level 6 felony count of maintaining a common nuisance.

Hanney is scheduled for trial Oct. 28, with a preliminary hearing Sept. 20.

Conley pleaded guilty to three level 3 felony counts of neglect of a dependent and faces 30 years of probation.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.