18 December 2009

Ellis sentenced to 6 years in child abuse case

This caught my eye this morning...but because of what the judge said to this animal!  The bold text below is what I’m talking about...

I only wish that he had gotten a longer sentence, but then again maybe six years is all that is needed....if he is telling the truth that he has been threatened, then six minutes may be all it takes!

Ellis sentenced to 6 years in child abuse case

by R.J. Cooper
Friday, December 18, 2009

Zachery Ellis tried to minimize and shed doubt on his guilt in the abuse of his child a month too late. He’ll be heading to prison on a six-year sentence as a result.

Last month, when he pleaded guilty to felonious child abuse, Mr. Ellis, 21, admitted squeezing his 7-week-old son until he heard a pop. The defendant also said he jerked the child’s legs.

When Mr. Ellis and his wife took the baby to the hospital, the visit revealed the child had spiral fractures in three limbs, three broken ribs, a bruised spleen and tearing on the inside of his mouth. In November, Mr. Ellis testified that he did not believe his wife was responsible for any of those injuries.

At his sentencing hearing Thursday, Mr. Ellis claimed he didn’t believe he caused the spiral fractures. While he still acknowledged squeezing the child in frustration, when Judge Weldon Judah asked the defendant if he broke the infant’s ribs, Mr. Ellis replied, “I’m not sure if I did or not.”

In his sentencing assessment report, the defendant claimed he took the blame for his wife, according to assistant prosecutor Pam Blevins. Ms. Blevins also told the court the defendant hadn’t shown any remorse for his actions or claimed full responsibility.

Public defender Stephen Williams attempted to negotiate his client’s seemingly contradictory statements. The defense attorney said his client simply was implying his wife could’ve been responsible for some of the injuries, but he also took responsibility for his abusive actions.

“He feels terrible about this,” Mr. Williams told the judge. “There is not an excuse for what happened.”

Judge Weldon Judah seemed empathetic to Mr. Ellis’ plight at the plea hearing, giving the defendant every opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea. The judge, at that time, also rejected the plea agreement for a five-year sentence.

On Thursday, the judge once again appeared sensitive to Mr. Ellis’ situation, saying he believed the defendant did feel remorse and wasn’t ready to be a parent.

But the empathy stopped there. The judge told the defendant, “You can’t do the things you did. You can’t treat a child like a dog.” Mr. Judah then handed down a six-year sentence — one more year than either the prosecution or defense requested. The maximum punishment on a class C felony is seven years.

Mr. Ellis, who is a convicted sex offender, told the court he feared for his safety in prison since someone split his head open at the county jail and told him they would be waiting for him in the Department of Corrections. Mr. Judah responded, ”Unfortunately, that’s one of the hazards of (committing criminal actions).”

Mr. Ellis’ son was in the courtroom for the hearing and appeared healthy. The Department of Social Services placed the child in family custody.

R.J. Cooper can be reached

at rjcooper@npgco.com.

stjoenews.net | Ellis sentenced to 6 years in child abuse case

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