FARMINGTON — A rural Farmington man has been sentenced to six years for throwing a baby.
Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Lewis sentenced David L. Jennings, 26, to six years on Wednesday for second-degree assault. Jennings was initially scheduled to be sentenced last week but it was postponed due to bad weather.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pat King had recommended six years while Jennings’ attorney, Jim Willis, asked for community supervision or a lesser sentence. King told the judge it was a serious offense and Jennings had given several versions of what happened to the child.
When he pleaded guilty to the charge in January, Jennings said his wife’s 16-month-old baby had been crying for days. He said he threw the baby, causing the baby to hit his head. Jennings told the judge he knew there was no excuse for it and he was truly sorry.
According to police reports, deputies were dispatched, along with an ambulance, when a 911 call was made to report a baby wasn’t breathing. The child was taken to Mineral Area Regional Medical Center by ambulance and then to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis by Air Evac due to the extent of his injuries.
According to a probable cause statement filed in associate circuit court, the deputies and medical staff observed bruising on the back of the child’s neck, and head, as well as bruises on the child’s face. The mother told police that the baby had fallen out of the crib three days before and got a bump on his head. She said they did not seek medical attention but put ice on his head to keep the swelling down. She said the baby fell again the day before which caused a cut on the inside of his lip.
She said she was at Wal-Mart getting medication for his lip when she got a call from her husband and the baby’s stepfather, David Jennings, who said there was something wrong with the baby. She came home and they called 911.
A doctor at the local hospital said he did not believe the injuries were consistent with the mother’s story. He said there were signs of abuse. Staff at Cardinal Glennon said the child suffered from a bilateral retinal hemorrhaging and other injuries, which were consistent with severe shaking.
Jennings is still facing a misdemeanor charge of stealing from a separate incident. He is scheduled for an arraignment in March.