CLAY COUNTY, Mo. - A Clay County judge rejected initial plea terms in a domestic violence case that brought national attention to the Kansas City area after a photo of the alleged abuse went viral.
In February, Austin McCauley pleaded guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend in 2012. He was to be sentenced in April, but a few hours before that hearing, he was accused of another act of violence against the same woman, Amber Taylor. The new accusations came from Jackson County.
The alleged incident caused the judge to reject the plea deal McCauley had brokered with prosecutors.
Taylor stood up in court on Friday and asked the judge to give McCauley the maximum punishment. She told the court she was scared for her life, but that she had called McCauley and visited him in jail. (You can listen to phone conversations between Taylor and McCauley by clicking the video player above.)
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The judge said that contact between McCauley and Taylor was the one thing he said not to happen when McCauley was released after his plea hearing.
The judge sentenced McCauley to six years, but he could be released after 120 days if he does not have contact with Taylor. He will undergo rehab and community service, and if released after 120 days, will have a five-year probation period.
He did not get credit for time previously served.
The case got national attention after Taylor posted photos to Facebook of her bruises in 2012.
In an appearance on the Dr. Phil program in March, Taylor told the show's host she was considering getting back together with McCauley. Advocates for victims of domestic violence say victims returning to their attackers is not uncommon.
The Jackson County case is still pending.
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