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‘Daddy bit my arm’: Former police officer and convicted child abuser who was given a sweetheart plea deal after his first daughter died is denied bond as new allegations surface

Jason Michael Colley appears in a photograph

Jason Michael Colley appears in a photo from 2018. (Maryland State Police)

A former member of Virginia law enforcement who received a sweetheart plea deal over his infant daughter’s 2017 death has been accused of child abuse once again. A judge in Maryland denied bond on the new suite of charges earlier this week.

Jason Michael Colley, 43, who hails from Monrovia, Maryland, was indicted on Aug. 24, 2018, on charges of child abuse-death in the first degree, first-degree child abuse causing severe physical injury, and first-degree assault over the Oct. 31, 2017 death of 6-month-old Harper Colley. At the time, he worked for the Fairfield County Police Department in the Old Dominion. He was fired soon after the indictment was filed, The Connection reported at the time.

The infant girl’s injuries first came to authorities’ attention on Sept. 17, 2017. She held on for several weeks before dying from “abusive head trauma,” the Washington, D.C. medical examiner found.

“Abusive head trauma can detail slamming a baby down on the ground, slamming a baby on maybe a table or against a wall, something along those lines,” Frederick County’s State’s Attorney Charles Smith said then, in comments reported by District of Columbia-based CBS affiliate WUSA. “You can do severe damage, and that’s exactly what happened in this case. They [she] had severe brain bleeding…with that, taken together with his conflicting statements, we felt we had proof behind a reasonable doubt.”

Colley also agreed the state had proof beyond a reasonable doubt – while technically maintaining his innocence. His wife, Heather Colley, stood by him, telling WUSA: “My husband is innocent.”

Facing the possibility of 105 years behind bars for the combined charges related to his infant girl’s death, Jason Colley entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant maintains his innocence but concedes that the state has enough evidence to convict him.

In exchange for his plea, the ex-cop was given a 50-year sentence, with all but eight years suspended. In August 2022, Frederick County Circuit Judge Julia A. Martz-Fisher offered Colley even more leniency, allowing him to serve those eight years on private house arrest – plus five years of supervised release.

During his criminal proceedings, Colley and his wife had a second daughter. She is now 3.

Last week, according to court documents obtained by WUSA, staff at the child’s daycare center found bruises on her arms. The 3-year-old reportedly told a Frederick County Child Protective Services investigator that “dad gets mad” and “daddy bit my arm.”

Colley was arrested on charges of felony child abuse in the second degree and misdemeanor assault.

The Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office asked Frederick County District Judge Dino E. Flores Jr. to hold the former cop without bond. The judge ultimately obliged the state’s request during a Wednesday hearing.

“The judge found that there was no other way to keep this child safe,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office told the TV station.

An attorney representing the defendant in both child abuse cases is adamant that his client did nothing wrong.

“As the judge acknowledged today, these bruises are minor,” defense attorney Andrew Jezic told WUSA. “Something that might appear on any child’s body at any daycare any day of the year.”

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