Medford woman pleads guilty in 2017 assault case that left infant permanently disabled

Alicia Gunn pleaded guilty to a lesser Assault in the Second Degree charge on Thursday for the 2017 injury of Autumn Cadwallader, who was an infant at the time.

Posted: Jul 29, 2021 1:08 PM
Updated: Jul 30, 2021 2:05 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — A Medford woman accused back in 2017 of seriously injuring an infant girl pleaded guilty and received her sentence in court on Thursday.

Alicia Gunn was 25 when the crime occurred. According to police statements at the time, Gunn had been watching a friend's 8-month-old baby girl on August 11 when police said that she shook the child. The baby, Autumn Cadwallader, was hospitalized with severe brain trauma.

Gunn, who was initially arrested and charged with Assault in the First Degree, argued that she had accidentally dropped Autumn while caring for her. Investigators concluded that Autumn's injuries were too severe for that to be the case, leading them to suspect that Gunn had shaken the baby and not dropped her by accident.

For more than three years the case dragged on, with jury trial dates repeatedly scheduled, canceled, and rescheduled. The trial finally took place this month, but ended in a hung jury. Shortly after the trial wrapped, the charge against Gunn was dropped from Assault I to Assault II.

On Thursday, Gunn pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of Assault in the Second Degree. She was sentenced to 80 months (just over 6.5 years) in prison, followed by 10 months of post-prison supervision. She was also ordered to pay restitution of roughly $250,000.

Angellic Cadwallader, Autumn's mother, spoke in court on Thursday. She said that Autumn has permanent brain damage — causing cortical blindness, delayed development of about two years, and the constant need for medication.

Regardless, Angellic said that her daughter is a miracle. After Autumn was hospitalized, Angellic said she was told that her daughter would never walk or see. Today Autumn can walk, she can speak, and she has some use of her vision. Despite her developmental delays, Angellic said that her daughter is beating the odds.

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