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San Jacinto News-Times - Local News

Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company

Man gets 40-year sentence for injury to a child
San Jacinto News- Times

COLDSPRING – The livein boy friend of a San Jacinto County mother started crying and fainted last Wednesday when found guilty of injury to a three-year-old child and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Ronald Eugene Wortham Jr., 31, will have to serve 20 years of his sentence before being eligible for parole. Wortham was sentenced by 258th Judicial District Judge Elizabeth Coker who said the sentence for the fi rst degree felony was based on facts of the case. San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney Richard Countiss said the child’s mother left her daughter with Wortham when she went to work. Hours later Wortham took the child to an emergency room in Cleveland unconscious where she was revived by doctors but suffered brain damage. Wortham said he was taking a nap and when he awakened he found the child on the sofa with a plastic bag over her face. ‘Investigations revealed shaken baby syndrome. Doctors testified that it happened within two hours of the time the child was brought to the hospital and Wortham was the only one with the child during that time,” Countiss said. San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney’s Felony Prosecutor Mark Boemio tried the case with First Assistant Mike Matthews sitting in second chair, Countiss said. “All the doctors, including a specialist from Houston, testified that injuries to the child are consistent with shaken baby syndrome and that it would be impossible for the child to suffer the damage from a plastic bag,” Countiss said. Defense attorney James Keegan presented no evidence during the trial, using Wortham’s plastic bag testimony as a defense. According to Countiss, Wortham’s attorney has filed an appeal in the 9th Court of Appeals, Beaumont. Countiss, who was in the courtroom during the trial, praised Boemio on the prosecution of his first felony case. “He worked really hard in what was a very complex case,” Countiss said. The 41-year-old former New York City chemist who studied law and passed his bar exam in 2007 started his career as a prosecutor earlier this year.


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