Prison ordered for assault that left Dillsburg-area tot brain-damaged
A former Dillsburg-area man convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend's toddler has been ordered to spend years in state prison in what was an aggravated-range sentence requested by his prosecutor and adopted by a York County judge.
Joshua Steven Perry, 23, now of New Cumberland, was sentenced Tuesday to 5-1/2 to 11 years in prison, with credit for the year he's already spent locked up, according to senior deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy.
"For what (the victim) has had to go through, no sentence whatsoever will ever be enough. We can't go back and change what happened to him," Murphy said. "It's a miracle he's doing as well as he is."
A presentence investigation recommended the aggravated-range punishment that Common Pleas Judge Michael E. Bortner handed down, and Murphy said he argued for it based on the victim's young age, the extent of his brain injury and what the boy and his family have suffered through.
A jury on Sept. 10 took a little more than two hours to convict Perry of aggravated assault and child endangerment.
The boy — who was 18 months old at the time and is now 2-1/2 — has lasting injuries, Murphy said.
"It's going to take years for (medical professionals) to know what damage was actually done," the prosecutor said. "It's just not possible to know at this age."
The boy's family said he goes to physical therapy five days a week, and that on two of those days he goes twice a day, according to Murphy.
Brain damage: The toddler suffered a subdural hemorrhage, and subsequent brain swelling caused some paralysis at the time, according to Murphy, who said the boy still has restricted movement of his left side.
Hershey Medical Center Dr. Kent Hymel testified against Perry at trial.
Hymel's opinion was that the injuries were caused "from some type of whiplash type movement where the head was rotated violently in a back and forth movement or from an impact of the head where the brain continued in motion, or a combination of the two," according to court documents.
"Dr. Hymel made it clear (the child) will have brain damage," Murphy has said. "It's just a matter of the extent of it."
Attorney George Matangos, who represented Perry, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Intense seizures: Court documents indicate the boy was taken to Holy Spirit Hospital Oct. 28, then transported to Hershey Medical Center in critical condition. He was having intense seizures and needed to be heavily sedated and put on a respirator, police said.
Perry was alone with the child for about nine hours when the injuries happened, according to Murphy.
Medical staff also noted bruises and bite marks on the child that appeared a week earlier, again while Perry was watching the boy, according to documents filed by Northern York County Regional Police Detective Bill Haller.
"Perry advised (that the boy) must have bitten himself and (said) he had fallen out of his crib to explain the other injuries," documents state.
Perry maintains his innocence, Murphy confirmed.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.