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Wayne County man sentenced to 14 years in prison for shaking infant daughter
GREENVILLE, Mo. -- A Piedmont, Mo., man pleaded guilty Tuesday to lesser assault charges and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for causing serious injuries to his then 3-month-old daughter by shaking her.
Justin L. Rogers, 23, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault before Circuit Judge Kelly Parker, according to Wayne County Circuit Clerk Darren Garrison.
Rogers entered his plea after Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Bob Ramshur filed amended documents with the court in December, which allege on Feb. 27, 2010, Rogers "recklessly caused serious physical injury" to his daughter by "shaking her" and "striking her head against a door frame."
Rogers originally had been charged with two counts of first-degree assault in connection with his daughter's injuries.
After accepting Rogers' plea, Garrison said, Parker sentenced Rogers to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on each count and ordered the sentences to run consecutive with each other and consecutive "with a 10 (-year sentence) he is currently doing right now."
Rogers currently is in the South Central Correctional Center in Licking, Mo., where he is serving a 10-year sentence for distributing a controlled substance.
Associate Circuit Judge Randy Schuller sentenced Rogers in April 2010 after he pleaded guilty to the drug charge and recommended he be placed in a 120-day shock incarceration program. Probation and Parole officials at the institution housing Rogers reportedly prepared a report for Schuller, who subsequently denied his release during a July 2010 hearing.
According to earlier reports, the infant was taken to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center by Rogers and the mother, Sheena Usher, on Feb. 27, 2010.
The infant was treated in the emergency room and transferred to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Jeremy Weadon said in his probable cause statement filed with the court.
"Dr. Steve Laffey treated her in the emergency room, then completed an affidavit stating he believed the injuries to (the infant) gave him probable cause to suspect abuse/negligence on the part of the child's parents, legal guardians or caretaker," Weadon wrote.
In his affidavit, Laffey said he found the baby to be suffering from anoxic (reduced oxygen supply) brain injury, with midline shift; bilateral retinal hemorrhages; bilateral infarctions (tissue death following cessation of blood supply) in the brain; and a skull fracture.
Laffey described the bilateral infarctions as being an old injury, and also found the baby had what he described as healing rib fractures, involving two ribs, on her left side.
In Laffey's affidavit, he said, he found the baby's biological parents to be the sole caregivers, with her father being the primary caregiver, and "no adequate explanation for the physical findings."
Rogers, after being told of his rights, was interviewed March 3, 2010, by Weadon and patrol Sgt. Scott Rawson.
"During the interview, Rogers admitted he was home alone" at his residence in the 600 block of North Main Street with his daughter, Weadon said.
"(The baby) was crying, and he could not get her to stop," Weadon said. "He shook her once, then was going to make her another bottle.
"He shook her again; this time, it 'was not a little shake;' it was a big one. Then, he bumped her head against the door real hard."
Weadon described Rogers' statement as being "consistent with the injuries outlined in Dr. Laffey's affidavit."
Authorities earlier reported that most of the injuries to the infant, who is now nearly 27 months old, were likely permanent, including blindness caused by the retinal hemorrhages.
She reportedly remains in foster care under the supervision of the Missouri Children's Division and Wayne County Juvenile Court.
"She's with a very, very loving family; she's in good hands," said Wayne County Juvenile Officer Jerome Kinnard.