A Casper man who recently pleaded guilty to a single count of sexually assaulting a girl in 2015 had all proceedings stopped Tuesday in a separate case of child abuse after a judge granted a request that he undergo a mental evaluation.

James Cody Sanders, 28, will be sent to the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston, Natrona County District Court Thomas Sullins said after public defender Dylan Rosalez requested the evaluation.

Sanders is charged with three counts of child abuse and one count of aggravated child abuse, with two of those alleged victims being his own sons. The maximum sentence he may face in that case is 55 years in prison.

He remains in custody on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

On Oct. 18, Sanders pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting a girl in 2015. In exchange for that plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss four other charges. Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri will recommend a sentence of 12-20 years in prison.

That prison sentence would run consecutively to any sentence Sanders may receive in connection with the four child abuse charges.

He pleaded not guilty to those charges on July 27.

This case began on May 24 when a Casper Police detective responded to the Wyoming Medical Center's emergency room to contact an investigator with the Wyoming Department of Family Services, according to police affidavit filed in Natrona County Circuit Court.

The detective saw a girl, born in 2005, with bruising and other injuries over the majority of her body. According to the detective's report, "'SS had obvious ligature marks around the front of her neck/throat and the majority of her head was covered in swelling that was to such extent, that it caused a horrifying physical deformity.'"

The detective spoke with a woman who was Sander's boyfriend since February, and she said she took him to his job in Evansville and left the child with him. Sanders later called her and said she had fallen down stairs at work and was "'a little banged up'" and had "'some swelling,'" but was fine.

Sanders, who waived his Miranda rights, told another detective that he took the child to his work site where he put the child in a room, and later saw her try to climb up stairs. He grabbed her, took her to the room and threw her against a wall. He later took the girl to his residence on North Kimball Street, where she climbed on a bed and knocked over a bag of crackers. He pushed her off the bed and she landed on toys on the floor.

Sanders allegedly abused two other children, including his 14-day-old son in Mills in January 2017, and his approximately 8-year-old son in 2016.

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