Sunday, 5 June 2011

SBS: California: Court denies appeal for Douglas Lovelace who shook infant son

A state appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the 12-year prison sentence handed down in Sutter County Superior Court to a Beale Air Force Base airman who shook his infant son, causing permanent brain injury.
Douglas Edward Lovelace, who was 22 when he was arrested in May 2009, had recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq and was anticipating being deployed to Afghanistan, according to a 3rd District Court of Appeal document.
Born in early 2009, the child's injuries included brain damage, two fractured ribs, a fractured forearm and serious bruises, including a bruise on the bottom of his tongue. He also had rug burns from being dragged across a carpet.
Lovelace initially denied involvement.
"Despite the fact the infant did not have teeth, (Lovelace) said the infant may have bit his own tongue, thereby causing the bruise to the tongue," Associate Justice William J. Murray Jr. wrote.
At Lovelace's sentencing in March 2010, a doctor testified the infant's brain size "had dropped from the 75th to the 15th percentile. The infant at best might be able to live with some independence and at worst would need full-time care," Murray wrote.
Lovelace inflicted the injuries while his wife was at a pharmacy getting medicine for the infant, who had developed colic.
The couple took the child to Fremont Medical Center, where a doctor quickly recognized shaken baby syndrome.
Sutter County Judge Brian Aronson gave Lovelace the maximum six-year sentence for willful cruelty to a child as well as the maximum six years on an enhancement for causing great bodily injury. The appeals court rejected Lovelace's argument that he should not have received two maximum sentences for the same acts.
Aronson said Lovelace did not admit wrongdoing until he found himself "in a box" while being interrogated by a detective.
Lovelace told a detective that he "couldn't take the crying anymore," was losing sleep and "had done some stuff where the baby might have got hurt."
At the sentencing, a defense attorney cited what he called Lovelace's "abusive upbringing" and anger management difficulties as well as the stress he was under at the time.
After imposing the sentence, Aronson said, "I want this community to know and the world to know that this type of behavior is not tolerated."

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