JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) - A Jacksonville man was found guilty on Monday by the Onslow County Superior Court on child abuse charges.
Edward H. Felts III was convicted of intentional and negligent child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury and contributing to the abuse or neglect of a juvenile.
Judge Charles H. Henry sentenced Felts to consecutive sentences of 19-24 years in prison for child abuse and 2-4 years in prison for active sentences in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction.
Felts was arrested after his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter was admitted to the Onslow Memorial Hospital as non-responsive on January 26, 2016.
The girl had multiple bruises and abrasions on her body, a healing right clavicle fracture, and retinal and subdural hemorrhages, which led to a hemiation of the right side of her brain.
The brain injury was comparable to an individual hitting the windshield of a vehicle traveling at 80 miles per hour, said the victim’s neurologist.
Felts told the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit he lived at his girlfriend’s house and was the primary caregiver for the children while she was at work.
Felts gave a number of explanations for the injuries, including a fall from the crib and rough play.
The day the girl was taken to the hospital, Felts claimed he heard her walking down the hallway of their house, then heard a heavy sound, ran in and saw her laying on the floor.
Physicians in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Vidant Hospital said the explanations for the victim’s injuries given by Felts III were inconsistent with the physical findings.
Felts didn't called the Emergency Medical Services but instead called the victim’s mother and waited while she came to the house and drove the victim to the hospital.
The victim was unconscious for approximately 53 minutes before receiving medical treatment.
The child have physical and developmental issues as a result of her injuries.
“There is no justifiable reason that a four-year-old or any child should have to endure abuse,” said the District Attorney, Ernie Lee. “Ironically, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month so maybe this case will send a message that child abuse will not be tolerated and secondly, that substantial sentences can result in those who engage in such criminal conduct.”
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