Judge lowers bond for father charged with causing infant's brain bleed

·3 min read

Jul. 14—A judge has reduced the bond of a Carthage father accused of causing a brain injury in his 2-month-old daughter.

Judge Gayle Crane decided to lower the bond of 22-year-old Hunter Kelley from $500,000 to $200,000 in the wake of a bond reduction hearing held Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Kelley has been jailed on two counts of child abuse and a single count of child endangerment since his arrest Sept. 12 after an investigation by Carthage police of injuries sustained by his infant daughter, Amelia Kelley.

The girl was taken to the hospital in Carthage on that date in an unresponsive state and subsequently transferred to a hospital in Springfield, where she had to be put on a ventilator.

A doctor testified at a hearing in February that an EEG showed suppressed electrical activity of the baby's brain and that further examination detected hemorrhages in both eyes. A scan was conducted, and a fluid drain put in to ease the pressure on her brain.

The doctor testified that she ultimately was diagnosed with a subdural hemorrhage and hypoxic injury of the brain due to "nonaccidental injury."

"No mother and child should ever have to go through what Amelia and I have had to do," the girl's mother told the court at Monday's bond hearing.

She recalled being awakened by "a bloodcurdling scream" from her daughter the night of the baby's injury and rushing to her bedroom, where she encountered the defendant with her daughter. She said she asked him if Amelia was OK, and he told her she was.

She changed the girl's diaper to get her to stop crying and handed her back to her father.

"I trusted him that she'd be OK," she said, adding that the next thing she knew, the baby had stopped breathing.

Under cross-examination by public defender Angela Acree, the mother acknowledged that she never saw the girl's father shake or hit Amelia. But Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Fisher told the judge that Kelley admitted having shaken the girl to an investigator.

Fisher argued that the defendant's bond should remain high because he posed both a flight risk and a danger to others in the community. She said a murder charge might yet have to be filed in the case because the girl's prognosis remains rather bleak.

"It is true that he did tell the police that he shook Amelia," Acree told the judge in defense of her client.

But police lied to him to get him to say as much, telling him that they had reason to believe he had caused some bruising on the child that simply was not there, she said.

"All he was doing that day was trying to tell them everything he knew that might help save that baby's life," she said.

She said the "triad of injuries" the girl suffered — swelling of the brain, subdural bleeding and retinal hemorrhaging — are too frequently misinterpreted by some in the medical community as the result of a baby having been shaken and that her client did not shake his child to the point of unconsciousness.

In lowering Kelley's bond to $200,000, the judge ordered that if he is able to post that amount, he remain under house arrest with electronic monitoring and have no contact with his daughter or any child under 10 years old.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting