A Billings judge Wednesday gave a sentence of four years of probation to a man who admitted he didn’t immediately seek medical help for his 5-month-old daughter when her head was injured.
Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Jeffrey Lee Blandin, 26, to four years with the state Department of Corrections, with credit for time served and the remaining balance suspended, for one count of felony criminal endangerment.
As part of a plea agreement, Blandin admitted that on March 28, 2011, he left his 5-month-old daughter on a couch and didn’t seek medical treatment “in a timely manner” when she fell and hit her head.
Prosecutors originally charged Blandin with felony assault on a minor in October 2012. He told investigators the child fell off the couch and hit her head on a coffee table. According to charging documents, the child’s mother later told a detective that Blandin slammed a door and it hit the baby’s head.
Blandin’s daughter was taken to the Denver Children’s Hospital, where some medical staff reported the infant had injuries consistent with child abuse, court records say. The baby had bleeding on her brain; bruising to her scalp, right ear, groin area, buttocks and nose; and an abrasion on the bridge of her nose.
Baugh initially expressed reservations about giving a suspended sentence because of Blandin’s criminal history, which includes two prior felony convictions, and because of the child’s injuries.
Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Juli M. Pierce, who asked for a five-year suspended sentence, said a doctor at the Denver Children’s Hospital said Blandin’s explanation for the head injury was plausible and that it was unclear which of the parents may have been responsible for the bruises.
“That concern was addressed by the Department of Public Health and Human Services, which I think was the appropriate way to address the concerns of possible child abuse and neglect,” Pierce said.
Pierce said Blandin and the victim’s mother have completed all of the classes and counseling the Department of Public Health and Human Services have required and that the agency has closed its case involving the child.
“She’s healthy. She had no long-term injury,” Blandin’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Roberta A. Drew, said of her client’s daughter.
Drew argued for a three-year suspended sentence, pointing out her client has taken parenting and anger management classes, gone through counseling and done two years of random testing for drugs and alcohol without incident.
“We believe this is an appropriate resolution,” Drew said. “I think Jeff has matured. He’s grown up. He is responsible … and I think he’s going to be successful and complete his probation without any problem.”
Given all of steps Blandin has taken, Baugh said “ … it seems a suspended sentence is appropriate. Based on what I’ve been told today it’s unlikely this kind of thing will ever happen again.”
“Congratulations on getting your life changed around,” he said.