Shawn Tucci testified that he didn’t think it was important to call his girlfriend and tell her that her child was bleeding from his head.
He claimed he fell with the baby, whose significant injuries included a bite mark, while Tucci walked away with no injuries.
After about four hours of deliberation, a jury found 30-year-old Tucci guilty Thursday of aggravated child abuse with great bodily harm. Tucci was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of probation.
Assistant State Attorney Ashley McCarthy told jurors that Ginger Faulk, the baby’s mother, left him in Tucci’s care on Sept. 16, 2016. Nearly six hours later, she received a call from Tucci, who said he tripped while holding the baby.
Tucci told Faulk he didn’t immediately call because he was cleaning up the baby’s wounds. He told her the injuries were minor – that the child had a rug burn on his face and a knot on his head.
But Faulk had a gut feeling that something was wrong, so she left work early to check on her baby. When she got home, Faulk found a significant amount of blood on the baby’s bouncy seat.
She immediately took the child to the hospital.
Doctors treated the baby for a severe laceration to the back of his head, pattern injuries to the side of his head, a burn on the front of his head, bruising on his back and feet, and a human bite mark on his arm.
ER doctors concluded that the injuries were not consistent with a fall and that they were inflicted upon the child.
When law enforcement arrived at Tucci’s home, all of the living room furniture had been smashed and thrown into the kitchen. Tucci was nowhere to be found.
In trial Thursday, Tucci testified that he was “in a rage” after Faulk took the baby to the hospital.
He also told the jury that he did not call the next day to see how the child was. Instead, Tucci went to the beach and got drunk.
McCarthy reminded jurors that Tucci claimed he didn’t immediately call Faulk because he was busy cleaning up the baby’s injuries.
“Or maybe he was cleaning up the crime,” McCarthy said. “These are not accidental injuries. They are inflicted. They are an intentional act that hurt a child.”
The defense claimed the doctors were not given the child’s full medical history, specifically regarding Tucci’s testimony that he fell while holding the baby.
Had the doctors known the full story, the defense said, their findings would have been different.
“Their findings were blunt force trauma. That’s inflicted,” McCarthy said.
In closing arguments, McCarthy told jurors Tucci was minimizing the injuries but narrowing the timeframe by testifying the baby was hurt while in his care.
It would be a monumental coincidence that the same hands Tucci claimed were caring for the baby did not also leave multiple unexplained injuries, like the bite mark. She said it would be a coincidence that Faulk overreacted and that all of the doctors got it wrong.
“And the defendant reacts by destroying the house and fleeing?” McCarthy asked jurors. “It’s imaginary. It’s forced. It’s unreasonable. That’s because he did it. It’s because it happened, and he is guilty.”