DELAND, Fla. - It took $5,000 for Terry May to bond out of the Volusia County Jail and, when News 6 went to his house Friday afternoon, he had plenty to say about the serious allegations of beating a 3-year-old girl and putting her in an oven.
Volusia County Sheriff's Office officials said May turned himself in Thursday on charges of child abuse and was being held on $50,000 bail. May was required to put up 10 percent of that to post bail.
"I just want to let (Sheriff Mike) Chitwood know that I'm not a scumbag. My name is Terry Lee May and I'm a good guy," May said. "I'm innocent until proven guilty and, right now, I'm totally innocent."
Fresh out of jail, the 45-year-old father of five, swears he never beat his ex-girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter with a belt or put her in the oven.
"If you got common sense and you got kids ... my oven preheats at 350. If you put a kid in the oven, you think she'll have a little burn mark?" he said.
Deputies said the 23-year-old mother called the Department of Children and Families when she noticed marks on her child after leaving her in May's care for weeks at a time.
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Investigators said the girl had extensive injuries, including cuts, swelling on her head, a 6-inch scar on her back and lacerations to her feet, hands and legs. Medical examiners determined that a burn injury to the child's ear was likely caused after May placed the girl in the oven, according to the Sheriff's Office.
May claims the little girl was coached to blame him for the abuse.
"The totality of the circumstances, we believe there's probable cause exists that he did it," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
Chitwood said he's frustrated over May's low bail amount, but wanted to remind people that that the purpose of a bond is to make sure someone appears in court.
"You'd think you'd be so aggrieved by this, that you'd turn around and say 'This is so horrible, let's hold him in custody and let's get the answers we need to get,'" Chitwood said.
"I love kids with all my heart. I'd never do nothing to any kids," May said.
Chitwood said the case will be proven in court.
"Until a judge or jury finds him not guilty, he's a scumbag. Take it to the bank. He's a career criminal. The main concern is this little girl gets the treatment that she needs to overcome her physical and mental injuries and she goes on to have a great life and she's taken care of," Chitwood said.
The Florida Department of Children and Families is still investigating the case. It's unclear if the victim's mother will face any charges.
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