I was asked to write this story. I know this individual personally and I was asked to help him with his case only I was too late. This is his story. My son told this individual to contact me while he was in county jail fighting his case in court. My son thought I could help him because of the kind of case he had. He was in jail for “child abuse” charges and it was a “shaking baby syndrome” case, since I have been in the field of working with children with disabilities, he and my son thought I would make an excellent expert witness.
I don’t condone child abuse by any means, I fully agree that someone who does abuse child should be punished to the fullest extend of the law. With that said, he called and gave me the details of his case and I agreed to help him. I don’t believe this was a “shaking baby syndrome”case.
He was going to give his baby a bath. He was holding the baby when he bent over to turn the water on in the tub. The baby fell out of his arms and into the tub. She was fell 2 & 1/2 feet, they rushed her to the ER and that’s when the hospital said this was “shaking baby syndrome”. The police and child protective services were called, he was arrested on the spot and the mom had the baby taken away from her as well. The child was placed in foster care, her mom had to classes from CSP for 16 months and he was in jail on child abuse charges.
He was preparing for his trial and I met him at the end of his trial. I gave him information but it was to late. If we had met a few months sooner, I could have been an expert witness for him. I had information that would have helped his case. However, I’m not sure the judge would have allowed it, considering she didn’t allow any of the child’s notes from the hospital, before the accident that stated the child’s head measurements(very important), didn’t allow the expert witness from Florida who specilizes in shaking baby syndrome and didn’t allow his employeer’s testimony.
He asked me to call his parents,to find out how they are doing. I found out that is mom was really ill. I would often call her and she would just cry because she hadn’t seen her son in 4 years. She knew that he would get a lot of time and she would die before he gets out. And she was so upset that she couldn’t have a relationship with her granddaughter. This was so sad and I knew sentencing hearing was going to be so hard on them.
So, I set up a video visit and went over to his parents house so he could visit with them before his sentencing hearing. I thouhgt it was so important that he visits with his parents before the sentencng hearing. Talk about incedibly sad. This was one of those moments that really tugs on your hearts strings and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.
Judge makes her decision, he’s found guilty. Next came the sentencing hearing. He had asked me if to speak to his mom and dad to see if they were ok. He was looking at 10-22 years in prison. The law in AZ is 17-22 years in prison for child abuse, that’s more than a murder charge. A murder charge in AZ is 10 years depending on the tye of murder charge depending on the type of murder.
He had asked me to speak at his sentencing hearing. I had no idea what to say, I had never been to a sentencing hearing before.Considering I didn’t really know this person, it was even more difficult to speak on his behalf. We get to the courthouse and meet his parents there. You can tell see the toll that this has already taken on his mom, just going to the court house. She has already been crying, she’s put of breath, and she’s so pale.
We go into the courtroom. His parents sat behind us. His mom can’t stop crying, This is the first time in 5 years they see their granddaughter since she just arrives to the courtroom. She is a beautiful little girl. She’s in a wheelcahir with arm and leg braces and glasses.
The prosecutor went first, then the foster parents and the mom of his child. Wow, they told so many lies.The foster parents weren’t legally allowed to be there, then to say that his daughter had PTSD at 3 months old was completely PTSD is to complex for a child’s brain to process at 3 months old. They also said that the child startled easily. Of course she did because she has cerebal palsy.
The mother of speaks of anger about losing 16 months with her daughter and all the money she has to spend on her. But she it’s not her money, it’s the state’s money. This isn’t the first time she has lost time with a child. Mom doesn’t mention that this is the second time that she had a child removed from her custody by CPS for child abuse
. Then the procescuter speaks again with his closing remarks. In his closing remarks, he asks for restitituion. I was like oh no he can’t do that. If he has to pay than mom will lose state’s services and money. This is all wrong!
Now the people that came to support him get a chance to speak. There aren’t many, just his parents, myself and my mom. His mom was supposed to, but unable to due to crying so much so his dad spoke, I didn’t get a chance to because his attorney didn’t know about me. It’s very unfortunate when you don’t have a lot of support that can speak on your behalf.
Now the judge speaks. The judge said ” I don’t believe that you’re sorry for what you have done, but I believe you love your daughter”. “The law says that I can sentence you 17-22 years, I know you have already done 4.5 years.” ” I’m sentencing you to 17 years in prison, without the possibility of early release”. Oh this was brutal. His mom cried harder, couldn’t catch her breath. I thought she was going to die right there in the court room. It was very difficult holding back my own tears.
Later that day he called and asked me how his parents were doing. I said they were ok but heartbroken. He asked me to help with his appeals. I gave him all the information from that day about the foster parents, the prosecuter and I told him I would start researching more for him. And that’s exactly what I did.
My research led to me all over the place. Pictuers his dad had sent me of his daughter, doctor reports, and reports from the court. In the pictures of his baby, you can see one of her hands is bent inward towards her wrist, and her feet are pulled up towrds her shins. Her head is very large for a 1 month old baby. All signs of cerebal palsy and swelling of the brain, In the doctor’s notes, it showed that the baby’s head measured 6 cm at birth and at 1 month 20cm. That means she had hydrocephalus.(fluid on the brain) prior to the fall.
The more I researched the more I came up with how many babies fall of the bed each year from rolling off, how many parents are accused of shaking baby syndrome at ER before they truly know if it shaking baby syndrome or not. And how many men go to prison for thier wife or girlfriend for this crime. Noble perhaps, right thing to do probably not, but I do undertand the logic behind it. It’s easier for men to do time in prison than women however, the person who actually hurt the child is still with the child.
Don’t get me wrong. Could CP be caused by a fall? Absolutely. However the evidence in this case does not support that outcome. I’m almost 99.9% sure that it wasn’t the cause eiher. I believe the cause was in utero or during delivery.
This is dad who worked as chef full time with a lot of overtime. He was the only parent working at the time. He attended school and was trying to be a dad to a new born baby. This was his first child, and he admitted that he knew nothing about raising a baby. He stated that he went to his mom and brother for advise about raisning babies when he needed advise. He had a support system in his family and friends. Of course he was tired and didn’t have any experience, but that is many new parents out there, but that doesn’t mean that they will commit the crime of child abuse. His daughter will be 22 years old when he gets out. And she will never know her dad because she will have a legal guardian at that time due to her disabilities and not being able to care for herself. She will never know her grandparents because her mom doesn’t allow them to see her even though they weren’t charged with any crimes. Her grandmother has passed away. After asking me to write his story, his emails have become very depressing, dark and hopeless.. This is a story where no one has a happy ending..
If you have any comments or a story you would like me to share let me know.
I love all the comments that I have been getting. I thank you for all of your encouraging words.