CLAY COUNTY, Mo. -- A change in plea hearing ends with a surprise twist Friday afternoon in a Clay County, Mo., courtroom.
The case involves a Liberty woman who was hit with a baseball bat by her boyfriend. And while she didn't show her face in court on Friday, 23-year-old Amber Taylor's face was all over the internet back in December.
That photo of Taylor in a hospital room went viral, with a caption reading, "I want everyone to know who he is because he is fake and honestly no woman deserves to be in my spot," she posted.
Austin McCauley is the man Taylor is writing about -- and he changed his plea to guilty. McCauley said he is guilty of hitting the 23-year-old woman with his hands, but not with the baseball bat. That, he told a judge, was the result of Taylor hitting herself with the bat while both struggling to take control of it.
However, according to a probable cause statement, a witness said McCauley went "crazy" and hit Taylor in the head with the bat in a Liberty, Mo., hotel room.
And this is where the twist comes in.
It was revealed in court Taylor has been in contact with McCauley "numerous times" since he's been in custody, by phone and in-person. She reportedly professed her love for him and is trying to think of ways to get the case dismissed.
Bridgette Malvec, who is Vice President of Clinical Services at Safehouse, said it's not uncommon in domestic abuse cases because some women feel trapped.
"Only the victim knows what her motivations are," she said. "We need to put blame where blame belongs, we need to hold batterers accountable and not look at the victims and say why would someone stay in that. We don't know why and it's not important. What is important is holding the person who committed a crime accountable."
If the judge finds McCauley accountable for his actions, he could get up to seven years in jail for second degree domestic assault. McCauley is expected to be sentenced in April.
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