Napoleon man sentenced to 18 years in prison for harming his own child

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

Barrett W. Brown admitted he severely injured his three-month-old infant daughter and signed a plea agreement that saw him sentenced to 18 years in prison, with five years suspended to reporting probation.

The 24-year-old Napoleon man sat silent as Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul read the sentence in court last Thursday, October 18. When asked if he wanted to make a statement, Brown declined.

Ripley County’s Prosecuting Attorney Ric Hertel was satisfied with the sentence, saying, “I think the sentence is appropriate.” He noted that Indiana State Police Detective Pete Tressler also agreed and had spent a lot of time on the case.

According to Ripley Publishing Co. files, charges of Battery of a Child Causing Serious Bodily Injury were filed August 21, 2006, after Brown’s infant daughter was taken to Decatur County Memorial Hospital with multiple injuries. She was then transferred to Riley’s Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis where doctors would find the child suffered from several injuries that included broken bones, some in different stages of healing, as well as an injury to the inside of her upper lip area.

Dr. Laskey, forensic pediatrician for the Clarion Health Group said the infant’s leg injury was caused by a significant amount of force. He said the other injures were consistent with repeated episodes of inflicted trauma.

In the Probable Cause Affidavit, Brown admitted to police that he became frustrated while changing the child’s diaper and grabbed her leg in an attempt to gain control. He also said he was responsible for other injuries because he was too rough. He told police he had been holding her mouth shut to keep her from crying.

At the time, the prosecutor said the infant was in a cast from her waist down.

Hertel explained part of the aggravating circumstances were that Brown had done this type of thing before. He was convicted in Jackson County in May of 2002 of the same crime, again to his own child, a five-month-old son.

At the sentencing hearing, Brown admitted he was still on probation for the charge of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, out of Butler County, Ohio. He was advised by Judge Taul that his probation on that charge was subject to be revoked when he entered the guilty plea.

Further instruction from the judge was that Brown will receive credit for the 428 days he has served in the Ripley County Jail, and is to have no contact with the victim upon his release from prison. He was also advised of all terms of probation that will be in effect after his release.

Barrett Brown, left, was escorted from his sentencing hearing in the Ripley County Circuit Court last Thursday, October 18 by Jail Officer John Lewis.