Prosecutor: boyfriend pulled 3-year-old's teeth with pliers

Madison, IN - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

MADISON, IN (WAVE) – A southern Indiana mother and boyfriend accused of torturing her 3-year-old son made their initial court appearance in Madison's Jefferson County Courthouse Monday morning.

Andrew Richards, 27, and Jessica Carder, 21, are charged with A Class B Felony of Battery.  Richards is also charged with a Class C Felony of Criminal Confinement – all for what investigators and the prosecutor believed happened in mid-November.

That's when the two are believed to have pulled two of the young boy's teeth and toenails.  Only WAVE 3 News was there Monday to catch up with the two.

"Did you do anything to that little boy," WAVE 3's Matt McCutcheon asked Richards.
"Hell no man," he replied.

"Did you pull his teeth with pliers?"
"I pulled his tooth that was it," Richards answered.

"Why did you pull his tooth?"
"Cause it was loose man," Richards said.

"How did it get loose?"
"I don't know man," Richards stated.

Walking to face a judge, Richards admitted to WAVE 3 News that he pulled the teeth of his girlfriend's three-year-old son.

While he didn't say how he did it, the Jefferson County Prosecutor has a pretty good idea.

"There's evidence to support that pliers were used to extract the teeth and that there is damage to the gum and gum line.  There is evidence that Mr. Richards had been abusing Oxycontin that night," Prosecutor Chad Lewis said.

In that same interview on the way to court, Richards says it's simply not true.

"Were you high on oxycontin?"
"No man," Richards replied.

"Were you using any drugs?"
"No man!  No," Richards said.

Richards's mother also maintains his innocence.

"My son is innocent, that's all I got to say," his mother said without sharing her name.

"Was he just trying to help the child?"
"He's innocent; that's all I got to say," she once again declared.

Richards's girlfriend -- 21-year-old Jessica Carder is the boy's mother, but she didn't have anything to say about the ordeal.

She was silent while she was asked three questions on her way into the courtroom.

"How did your son get hurt?"
"Did you do anything to your son?"
"Did you pull his teeth with pliers?"

Court documents give graphic details about what prosecutors and investigators believe happened on mid-November; however, the boy's biological grandfather says the abuse started much earlier.

"There were two incidents, one over Labor Day where he had bruises on him," Karl Andersen Senior said.  He and his wife got the ball rolling on getting custody of their little grandson.

But before that could happen...

"I couldn't even recognize his face was so bruised and he had bumps and lumps," Karl Andersen Senior said.

Prosecutors say Carder and Richards pulled his teeth and his toenails.  Now more than a month later, the boy is recovering, but it's not been easy.

"It's kind of hard to understand him talking because he has teeth missing but he's doing good," Andersen said.

And the man believed to be partially responsible for it all yelled this before being escorted back to jail.

"I just pulled a tooth -- my dad pulled my teeth all the time -- I ain't traumatized," Richards said.

The two each face a maximum of 20 years behind bars for battery and criminal confinement charges.

Monday was their initial court appearance, meaning they'll spend much of the New Year in and out of that Madison courthouse.

The two remain behind bars, as of Tuesday morning, December 28, on a $50,000 bond each.  They're both scheduled to appear before a judge again in mid-February, 2011.

Meanwhile, the 3-year-old boy remains in the custody of his biological father's parents.

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