Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville
July 15, 2014 Session
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hickman County No. 125119CR Timothy L. Easter, Judge.
Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bradley Douglas Parker.
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Kate Yeager, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.
Thomas T. Woodall, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Alan E. Glenn, JJ., joined.
THOMAS T. WOODALL, PRESIDING JUDGE
At the guilty plea hearing the State summarized the facts in support of Defendant's guilt of the Class D felony offense of child neglect as follows:
Had this case proceeded to trial, the State would have shown that on or about February 4th or 5th of 2012, the victim, [ ], date of birth, [13 months old] was in the custody of his father [Defendant] for his visitation that weekend.
That Sunday morning, the 5th, the father [Defendant] took the child over to the mother's home and encountered the mother's boyfriend and her mother. And they discovered some burns on the child's face and on his chest area. They then determined the child needed to go to the hospital, took him there.
And various testimony from doctors and medical personnel would tell the Court that the burns were first-degree and second-degree on his face and chest, that they were chemical in nature. And that the father, [Defendant] whose custody the child was in, had no explanation that made medical sense as to what happened.
[Defendant] was interviewed on February 6th by Detective Smith, and Cynthia Primm from DCS, and he was not able to offer any explanation as to the burns on the child's face. He did state that he was constantly with his son and that his girlfriend, who was there that weekend did not have access to him without [Defendant] being present.
The State would submit that this occurred here in Hickman County. Injuries were caused to the child by the neglect by [Defendant]. And [Defendant] was the person who is the child's biological father and who allowed these things to happen other than by an accidental means.
Sentencing Hearing - State's Proof
At the sentencing hearing Bobby Chance testified that he is engaged to the victim's mother. Brenda Edwards is the victim's maternal grandmother. On the Sunday morning in question, Defendant brought the victim to Brenda Edwards and to Mr. Chance, who were at the home of Kelsie Edwards, the victim's mother. Kelsie Edwards was at her job at Wal-Mart in Dickson. Mr. Chance observed blistering on the victim's face, and it appeared that skin was peeling off the victim's face. Defendant told Mr. Chance that he found that the victim had vomited when Defendant awoke the victim that Sunday morning. When the vomit was cleaned off, Defendant noticed the blistering. Defendant stated that his girlfriend had bathed the victim, and in the process the victim touched a rag that may have had chemicals on it. Mr. Chance also testified that Defendant claimed that part of a Sonic hamburger eaten by the victim on Saturday night might have caused the blistering. Mr. Chance elaborated that Defendant said, "something about the acid in it could have made the skin peel off his face."
Cynthia Primm, a Child Protective Investigator with the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, testified that she went to Horizon Medical Center in Dickson when the victim was being treated there. She talked with hospital staff members, the victim's mother, and Defendant. Defendant told Ms. Primm that when he awoke the victim on Sunday morning, the victim had vomit on his face, and when Defendant wiped off the vomit he saw the victim's skin "blistering off." In an interview a few days later Defendant told Ms. Primm that on Saturday the victim had grabbed a cleaning rag which had some cleaning chemical on it. Ms. Primm added that Defendant became aggravated at the hospital when she wrote up a protective plan for the child because Defendant was under investigation in the incident.
After examination at Horizon Medical Center, the victim was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. Dr. Kyle Brothers examined the victim at Vanderbilt. He testified that the victim had second degree burns on both sides of his face with the overlying skin peeling off or already removed. Dr. Brothers was also concerned about a bruise behind the victim's ear. Dr. Brothers observed petechiae (burst capillaries) down the chest and back of the victim. He testified that the petechiae would have been caused by physical trauma. In Dr. Brother's opinion, the victim's skin injuries were ...