Late on May 13, 2022, and after a four-day trial, a Campbell County jury found both Ashley Ledford and Brandon Stepp of LaFollette, Tennessee, guilty of two counts of Aggravated Child Abuse and Neglect, as charged in the indictment. Sentencing has been scheduled for status on June 28, 2022.
The couple was initially arrested in February 2019 after a concerned physician notified EMS that a child needed to be seen at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. When EMS arrived at Stepp’s home, he told the first responders his daughter had been ill with the flu and that he woke up earlier that day to find the child’s “eye bruised and swollen shut.” The doctor who treated his daughter recommended she be seen at ETCH for further testing, but Stepp did not take her. When the local physician learned this, he dispatched the EMS crew to transport the child. Crews found the child “thin and pale” with a “large swollen bruise” over her left eye and cheek, the report said. She also allegedly had a bruise on the bridge of her nose, a knot on the left side of her head, along with bruises on her scalp and above her ear. After questioning, the child told authorities Ledford had been repeatedly abusing her and her mother would “whoop” her. Ledford allegedly struck the child frequently “all over body” and would strike her in the head, pull her hair and squeeze parts of her body, the report said.