Feb. 23—A judge on Monday ordered a 22-year-old Carthage father to stand trial on charges that he shook his 2-month-old daughter so violently that she suffered a severe brain injury.
Associate Judge Jerry Holcomb decided at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court that there was probable cause for Hunter Kelley to stand trial on two felony counts of child abuse and one count of child endangerment. The date for Kelley's initial appearance in a trial division of the court had not been set by the end of the day, according to court records.
Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Fisher called Dr. Diane Lipscomb of Mercy Hospital Springfield to testify at the hearing as to the medical condition and treatment of Kelley's infant daughter when she was taken to a Carthage hospital on Sept. 12 in an unresponsive state and subsequently transferred to the hospital in Springfield.
Lipscomb said the baby, who had to be put on a ventilator, displayed the poor responses indicative of pressure on the brain. An EEG showed suppressed electrical activity of the baby's brain and an eye exam detected hemorrhages in both eyes. A scan was conducted, and a fluid drain was put in to ease the pressure on her brain.
The girl ultimately was diagnosed with a subdural hemorrhage and hypoxic injury of the brain due to what is termed "nonaccidental injury," the pediatric critical care physician told the court. She said that is the preferred medical term today for a diagnosis that was often called "shaken baby syndrome" in the past.
Lipscomb said a skeletal survey also found evidence of a prior rib fracture.
Asked if the girl's father's initial claim to police that the girl had gagged or choked on her formula could account for her injuries, the doctor said it could not. His purported eventual admissions that he had shaken her on two occasions were more in keeping with the child's injuries, the doctor testified.
"Unfortunately, her long-term prognosis is very poor," Lipscomb said.
The baby suffered severe loss of brain tissue due to a lack of oxygen, she said.
"She will need people helping to care for her her entire life," Lipscomb said.
Public defender Angela Acree asked Lipscomb if the mother's genetic clotting disorder might be pertinent to what happened to the girl. The doctor said it would not be relevant because, even if the child has the disorder, it would cause clotting, not bleeding, and the baby suffered a severe brain bleed.
Detective Jeff Pinnell of the Carthage Police Department testified that the father initially offered the account that the baby had gagged on formula when he questioned him at the hospital. But he eventually acknowledged having shaken the girl earlier that night and about one week prior. On the earlier occasion, he had performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the child to bring her back around, he purportedly told Pinnell.