Midway through jury selection Tuesday, a Gloucester couple charged with felony child abuse and aggravated malicious wounding pleaded guilty to avert their scheduled jury trial.
Brian Gore, 31, and Shannon Gore, 26, were charged in connection with the treatment of their young daughter, who was starving and living in squalor in a makeshift cage when police discovered her in April 2011.
The Gores had pleaded not guilty to the charges during their arraignment Tuesday morning, but midway through the voir dire process, Shannon Gore’s attorney Ron Smith notified Gloucester Circuit Court Judge R. Bruce Long that his client wanted to withdraw those pleas. Soon after, Brian Gore’s attorney, Tim Clancy, said his client had the same desire.
The Gores then each pleaded guilty to felony child abuse, which carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison, and entered Alford pleas to their charges of aggravated malicious wounding, which is punishable by 20 years to life imprisonment. The Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but acknowledges the evidence is sufficient for a conviction. Sentencing was set for June 10.
Smith said his client had begun to change her mind while listening to responses from potential jurors. "She feels the jury is going to be overwhelmed," he said, adding that Shannon Gore had never really denied being guilty of the abuse. Smith also said his client did not want her child to appear in court. Clancy said Brian Gore had changed his mind "for mostly the same reasons."