A father accused of choking his 2-year-old daughter last January was indicted Tuesday by a Madison County grand jury.

Jeremiah Caleb Blair, 22, and his girlfriend, Jessica Richardson, age unknown, both of the 1600 block of Foxhaven Drive, Richmond, were both indicted on first-degree criminal abuse charges.

Blair was arrested in March 2008 after a two-month investigation. The investigation began after the child’s mother took the girl to St. Joseph-Berea hospital with bruising under her neck.

A Richmond Police Department news release issued after the arrest said the bruising “was consistent with injuries inflicted by another party.”

At an April preliminary hearing in Madison District Court, Detective Eric Long testified that the child’s mother discovered the bruises after picking up the children from Blair’s home, where they had spent an overnight visit.

“She tilted her head backward and she could see the bruises where it looked like someone had grabbed the child like so and squeezed,” Long told the court.

In an interview with a social worker, the child said her father had given her the bruises, Long testified.

If convicted, Blair and Richardson each face five to 10 years in prison.

Other indictments

The following people were also indicted by the grand jury:

• Jamie Clay, 20, of the 1100 block of Park Lane, Richmond, first-degree possession of a controlled substance. If convicted, Clay faces one to five years in prison.

• Harry L. Shephard Jr., 39, of the 1000 block of Brooklyn Boulevard, Berea, theft by unlawful taking, more than $300. If convicted, Shephard faces one to five years in prison.

• Joeie Watts, 32, no address listed, theft by unlawful taking, more than $300. If convicted, Watts faces one to five years in prison.

An indictment is a formal accusation and does not establish guilt.

Brian Smith may be reached at bsmith@richmondregister.com or at 624-6694.

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