A Layton man charged with physically abusing a 2-year-old girl last fall pleaded guilty in 2nd District Court to a reduced charge of child abuse and is scheduled for sentencing April 18.

Scott E. Palmer, 34, 1145 W. 16th North, was charged with second-degree felony child abuse but pleaded guilty to a reduced third-degree felony charge in a plea arrangement.Defense attorney John Hutchinson said the difference between the two charges deals with intent and the third-degree felony is more appropriate to what happened in the Nov. 8 incident.

The second-degree count charges the action was done intentionally, Hutchinson told Judge Douglas L Cornaby. But the third-degree count charges it was done recklessly.

Prosecutor Carvel Harward said Palmer picked his 2-year-old stepdaughter up by the neck, shook and spanked her and then threw her part way across a room onto a couch.

Hutchinson, however, said Palmer has admitted throwing the girl onto the couch but that she struck her head, falling face down and cutting off her air.

The girl was hospitalized at Primary Children's Medical Center for several weeks and suffers brain damage. Harward said doctors treating her say the injuries are consistent with the child being shaken.

Palmer faces a prison sentence of zero to five years on the third-degree felony, down from the one to 15 years a second-degree count carries.