STANTON — A Greenville toddler who suffered life-threatening abuse injuries has a new legal father — her biological father who is serving a lengthy prison term.
Samantha Slater and Benjamin Wilkins, both 26 and both of Greenville, were each charged with first-degree and second-degree child abuse of Slater’s 2-year-old daughter Brooklyn Weimer, who has been hospitalized since March 24 with severe abdominal and brain injuries.
Montcalm County 64B District Court Judge Donald Hemingsen dismissed both criminal charges against Slater on May 16, citing a lack of evidence.
A civil trial has been pending in Montcalm County Juvenile Court to determine whether Wilkins, Slater and Slater’s ex-husband Brent Slater should have their parenting rights terminated due to abuse and neglect charges. Wilkins pleaded no contest on May 7 to the civil abuse/neglect charge. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as a guilty plea by the court.
On May 20, Brent Slater and Samantha Slater signed a stipulation to amend their judgement of divorce to say that Brent Slater is no longer Brooklyn’s legal father. Brooklyn’s new legal father is now Clayton Weimer — Brooklyn’s biological father.
Clayton Weimer, 33, of Greenville, was arrested after a routine traffic stop in March 2010 led to the seizure of 88 pounds of cannabis in the vehicle Weimer was driving in Pontiac, Ill., according to the Pontiac Daily Leader newspaper. The cannabis, which was packed in two suitcases, had a street value of $176,000. Clayton Weimer escaped from police on foot, but was arrested the following night by Michigan State Police back in Weimer’s hometown of Greenville.
Clayton Weimer was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison, which he is serving in an Illinois prison. His earliest projected parole date is in March 2018.
Child abuse and neglect allegations are no longer pending against Brent Slater, after Department of Human Services officials visited his home in Belding and found no issues. He has also been allowed to have his 4-year-old daughter (Brooklyn’s stepsister) back in his care, although she will remain a temporary ward of the court under the supervision of DHS officials.
Samantha Slater’s parenting time with Brooklyn remains suspended, however she will be allowed to have contact with Brooklyn for the purpose of making medical decisions if requested by medical personnel and with the concurrence of DHS.
Attorney Tammi Shaw of Lakeview remains Brooklyn’s court-appointed advocate.
A pre-trial conference on the abuse and neglect charges is scheduled for June 13 in Juvenile Court in Stanton.
Wilkins continues to await criminal trial while he considers an offer from the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office. If he pleads guilty to second-degree child abuse and being a habitual offender second offense, the first-degree child abuse charge would be dropped and he would face up to 15 years in prison instead of the possible life sentence he is currently facing.