A Pinellas Park mom is charged with felony aggravated child abuse for hitting her 16-year-old daughter in the forehead with a baseball bat, according to an arrest affidavit.
Melvina Dukes, 39, told a judge during her first appearance in a Pinellas courtroom on Wednesday that she's not guilty.
“I am not a child abuser,” Dukes said.
Police said the incident happened Tuesday night at Dukes' home in Pinellas Park. When officers arrived they said Dukes was still holding onto the bat and her daughter was bleeding from the forehead. Police said the teen had a three centimeter cut above her eyebrow but Dukes told the judge that she's the victim.
"My daughter attacked me and I’ve called the police repeatedly," Dukes said. "She got hit by accident."
Pinellas Park Police said that Dukes told officers that her daughter walked into the bat after she thrust the handle end of it at the teen. The victim told police that her mom "snapped" after they got into an argument about doing the dishes.
Dukes was initially being held without bond. The defendant begged the judge to give her a low bond.
"Please, I have four children, three other children, and I really need to tend to my home," she said.
Dukes' mom, Ruth, told the judge that she would watch over the teen at her Largo home if her daughter bonds out of jail.
"I need to intervene in this because we’ve got three other children," she said. "I don’t fear (name redacted) at all."
The judge decided to give Dukes a $15,000 bond and told her not to have any contact with her daughter when she gets out of jail.