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Fort Edward mom convicted of assaulting child seeks custody

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COHOES, N.Y. (WRGB) - A local father is fearing for his children. His ex-wife is behind bars for severely attacking her stepdaughter. But now he says the woman is trying to get joint custody of two of their other children, and he’s worried something terrible will happen again.

James Rice is looking towards December 17 with a sense of worry. It’s when he’s due back in family court to face ex-wife Marissa Bickford.

“It actually kind of really bothers me - the judge told her right to her face that she shouldn’t be trusted with an animal,” said James Rice.

Bickford is serving a 13-year sentence in state prison for attacking Kaiden Starr Rice in September 2016 in a Fort Edward home. The beating was so bad, Kaiden, who was 4 at the time, suffered a fractured skull and a traumatic brain injury.

“I got told by her doctors she wasn’t gonna come back, she wasn’t gonna talk. They didn’t even know if she was gonna walk again,” James Rice said.

But James says Bickford is now trying to get joint custody of her two biological children she has with James, Aaliyah and Landon rice so they can visit her in prison.

“I’m hoping that a judge is smart enough to go, ‘Look at what you did to this little girl and you expect us to give you custody of your kids?’” James Rice said.

James says he wants a bright future for the kids, and he can’t bring himself to think of what could happen again if Marissa Bickford is allowed to be in their lives.

“What happens if she snaps again?” James Rice wondered.

CBS 6 obtained court paperwork filed by Marissa Bickford. In it, she argues for joint custody, saying she’s taken anti-violence and parenting classes while in prison. As we mentioned, the next family court appearance is on the 17th, and we’ll continue to follow the story.

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