A man was arrested after severely beating his girlfriend’s one-year old child. According to police he first scalded the child with 170 degree water, and then after he beat the child so badly that he had 100 retinal hemorrhages and had to half brain surgery:
A Hartford man faces 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to assaulting his then-girlfriend’s 1½-year-old son.
Courtney King Saunders, 25, was babysitting the child in March 2016 when the boy suffered a head injury severe enough that he required brain surgery. Medics, firefighters and police who responded to the Gillett Street apartment Saunders shared with his girlfriend, Zatanya Irving, 23, also noticed a large burn on the boy’s body.
Doctors at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center would later determine the boy had first- and second-degree burns on about 30 percent of his body, more than 100 retinal hemorrhages in his eyes, and broken ribs, prosecutor Donna Mambrino told Hartford Superior Court Judge Laura F. Baldini.
Saunders ultimately was charged with first-degree assault and risk of injury to a child. Irving, the boy’s mother, was charged with failing to obtain proper medical care for the child. Even after the boy suffered serious scalding burns when Saunders placed him in 170-degree bath water, according to the warrant, Irving told Saunders not to call 911. She feared she would be blamed for the boy’s injuries and said she would apply diaper rash ointment. Hospital staff later determined that the burns had not been treated with any ointment, according to the warrant.
Hartford police detectives conducted a detailed investigation of Saunders’ explanations of how the baby was injured. They also had him reenact the incidents and recorded him doing so on video. Police then showed the videos to medical professionals, who said the boy’s injuries and Saunders’ explanations were not consistent.
The boy’s head injuries, according to the warrant, were consistent with shaken-baby syndrome.
Irving has pleaded guilty to risk of injury to a minor for failing to obtain medical help for the boy and earlier this week received a seven-year suspended jail sentence and five years of probation.
In addition to pleading guilty to first-degree assault for assaulting the child, Saunders on Thursday pleading guilty to third-degree assault for an attack on Irving while she was pregnant with his child, and to violating the terms of his probation from previous convictions.
Saunders’ guilty pleas in the assault cases were made under the Alford doctrine, meaning he disagreed with the state’s version of what happened, but acknowledged that there was a enough evidence to convict him and that he wanted to take advantage of the plea offer.
The boy who was injured and the baby Irving was carrying when her first child was assaulted now live with a relative of Irving and are doing well. The boy has some developmental delays, but has otherwise recovered, officials said.
Saunders’ sentencing is scheduled for March 20. (source)