AURORA | Arapahoe County prosecutors Wednesday, March 2, blasted a judge’s decision to sentence an Aurora man to probation after being convicted of breaking a 46-day-old infant’s arm.
Evan Joseph McClure, 21, was convicted in December of felony child causing serious bodily injury and misdemeanor child abuse causing injury.
Prosecutors say in April 2014 McClure broke his infant’s arm and caused several other injuries.
Judge Steven Shinn sentenced McClure to five years of probation March 1, a sentence District Attorney George Brauchler said wasn’t nearly harsh enough.
“In our community, a person who is found by a jury of his peers to have criminally and feloniously broken the arm of 46-day-old infant deserves prison. Yesterday, in our courts, that did not happen. Not one day of incarceration was imposed,” Brauchler said in a statement. “To say that I am extremely disappointed by this result would be an understatement.”
But McClure’s lawyer, H. Michael Steinberg, said the case was far more complicated than prosecutors are saying. For one, jurors found McClure guilty of negligent child abuse, he said. Had they found him guilty of more serious charges — like reckless or knowing child abuse — McClure would have faced mandatory prison time, but the jury clearly didn’t think mandatory prison was necessary, he said.
“The jury was extraordinarily intelligent,” Steinberg said. “I believe the jury’s verdict was just.”
According to the statement from prosecutors, when the baby arrived at Children’s Hospital Colorado physicians noted 20 fractured ribs, a fractured humerus, a skull fracture, a bruised forehead and several other injuries.
McClure told police and hospital staff that he “played rough” with the baby, the statement said.
At trial, the jury convicted McClure of two counts but acquitted him of breaking the baby’s ribs.
In the statement, Deputy District Attorney Gary Dawson said that while McClure’s defense said the injuries were caused by a bone disease, doctors from Children’s refuted that.
“While we are disappointed that the Court found that someone who committed this kind of crime does not deserve incarceration, the child is now healthy and is expected to make a complete recovery,” he said.
Steinberg said that while the doctors from Children’s said the child didn’t have a bone disease, a world-renowned expert from California testified that the child did have a fragile-bone condition. That’s why the jury acquitted on the broken ribs, Steinberg said.
McClure has since been granted unsupervised visits with the child, Steinberg said, and has completed parenting classes.
“He has learned a lot from this as well,” Steinberg said.