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Neglect charge nets 12-year sentence

by James Ehle - jehle@h-ponline.com

A Huntington man was sentenced to ten years in prison and two years probation after he pleaded guilty to a crime that left an infant with serious injuries.

Braxton M. Gray, 24, pleaded guilty to a Level 3 felony charge of neglect of a dependent in August after prosecutors say he knowingly placed the infant in a situation that endangered the child’s life or health resulting in serious bodily injury, according to the plea agreement filed in Huntington Circuit Court.

On the night of March 26, a 2-month-old infant who was under the care of Gray suffered a severe head injury and stopped breathing, according to court documents. Medical tests showed the child suffered bleeding of the brain, bleeding of the eyes and bleeding on the spinal column. Police say the child also suffered from stroke and seizure activity.

Gray wrote in his plea agreement that he neglected to seek medical attention for more than an hour until the infant’s mother returned home unexpectedly from work and took the child to the hospital.

According to an affidavit, Gray reported he fell asleep while feeding the baby and woke up to the child having breathing issues, adding that his PTSD causes him to shake and jerk in his sleep.

When detectives told Gray they suspected someone caused the baby’s brain to bleed, Gray reportedly said he fell while holding the infant but the baby never hit the ground. He also claimed a piece of furniture fell down the stairs and hit the baby’s bassinet.

In the plea agreement signed by Gray, it states “I gave law enforcement several explanations for how the injuries may have happened, but all of the explanations were ruled out by medical professionals.”

The state dismissed charges against Gray of Domestic Battery on a Child, which is also a Level 3 felony, according to the plea agreement.