Saying the case was "horribly sad," a judge sentenced a man to prison for battering his infant son to the point that he'll never recover fully from his injuries.
Desmond T. Ross, 19, of the 2500 block of South Wayne Avenue, was sentenced Friday in Allen Superior Court to serve 13 years of a 15-year sentence for battery resulting in serious injury to a person under 14, a Level 3 felony. Two years will be served on probation following the prison term.
Allen County Superior Court Judge Fran Gull heard about two hours of testimony and arguments from defense attorney Carl Swanson and Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Patricia Pikel.
The boy, who was 3 months old last June 27-29 when the incident happened, continues to function at that age level despite being 13 1/2 months.
Ross pleaded guilty last month, and initially said he and the baby were sleeping on the sofa when his son woke up vomiting at about 6 a.m. June 29. Ross took his son to Parkview Hospital on Randallia Drive later that day and doctors determined the infant's injuries were too severe to treat there, tranferring him to Parkview Regional Medical Center off Dupont Road. After a short stay at PRMC, the infant was transported to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.
The doctor reportedly told Ross the baby's injuries weren't consistent with his story. Doctors found the baby had a skull fracture and brain bleed that were less than 48 hours old, and signs of a brain injury that was 2-3 weeks old. The infant had to be placed on a breathing machine because he couldn't breathe on his own.
The doctor also told police the baby had what appeared to be new bruising on both sides of his face. An eye doctor who examined the baby reportedly also found the infant had bleeding spots in his eyes “too numerous to count,” a sign of shaken baby syndrome.
A 30-minute deposition of Dr. Jayesh Patel aired during the sentencing hearing. Dr. Patel said someone held the infant with force and shook his head.
The boy's maternal grandfather testified Friday, "I get choked up every day. It's something you can't get used to... His quality of life is gone. His former life is gone."
The boy's maternal grandmother testified the boy still could not drink and undergoes therapy two times a week.
Pikel told the court the boy is expected to have long-term sight problems and requires a gastrointestinal tube for feedings. The boy requires constant care and the family is beleaguered with therapy and doctors' appointments.
The boy also does not speak, crawl or walk, according to testimony from family members.
While one maternal aunt asked asked why Ross' family was not helping to care for the boy, another maternal aunt testified, "No one wins. Everyone loses." Statements Gull used when pronouncing sentence.
Saying the situation was "horribly sad," Gull told Ross he was old enough to know better. "A 130-pound man is no match for a 3-month-old."
Ross has 142 days' jail credit, and was ordered to take parenting classes and undergo a psychological evaluation.