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Tacoma man pleads not guilty to harming his newborn son

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on July 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
July 3, 2013 2:41 pm
Joshua Sullivan enters Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday to be arraigned on charges he abused his infant son. He pleaded not guilty. Credit: Adam Lynn/The News Tribune
Joshua Sullivan enters Pierce County Superior Court on Wednesday to be arraigned on charges he abused his infant son. He pleaded not guilty. Credit: Adam Lynn/The News Tribune

An 18-year-old Tacoma man accused of abusing his 7-day-old son was ordered jailed Wednesday in lieu of $1 million bail.

Joshua Charles Paul Sullivan is charged with one count of first-degree child assault with aggravating factors. Deputy prosecutor Michelle Hyer said Sullivan abused a position of trust when he allegedly harmed his son in May. The addition of the aggravating factor could qualify Sullivan for a life sentence if he’s convicted as charged, Hyer said.

Court Commissioner Meagan Foley entered a not guilty plea on Sullivan’s behalf during his arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court.

Hyer told Foley the victim suffered “egregious” injuries and might not survive. The boy underwent brain surgery to treat a head wound and suffered other injuries as well, the deputy prosecutor said.

Foley prohibited Sullivan from visiting or contacting his son or the boy’s mother should he make bail.

Detectives began investigating the case when Sullivan and the child’s mother brought the boy to a local hospital for treatment. Doctors said the boy’s injuries were consistent with a baby being violently shaken, court records show.

Sullivan allegedly admitted to shaking the baby when it was “fussing,” the records show. He also said he accidentally bumped the boy’s head against the wall while carrying him up some stairs, but doctors said the extent of the child’s injuries were too severe to be consistent with that account, prosecutors wrote in charging papers.

Detectives sought an arrest warrant for Sullivan last week. They found him early Tuesday morning at a local hotel. Hyer said he was trying to evade capture.

 

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