BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
DANVILLE — A father accused of shaking his son to the point of injury contends he did so to prevent the child from choking.
Garland Jackson, 26, of the 400 block of North Beard Street, appeared in Vermilion County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon on charges in connection with injuries to his infant son, referred to in court by his initials — K.J.
Danville Police Detective Troy Hogren testified during Jackson’s preliminary hearing Thursday that the man was babysitting his son for about 5 hours on Christmas Eve when the incident occurred.
According to Hogren, Jackson gave K.J. a bottle of milk and propped up the bottle for the then 4-month-old child around 6 p.m. Jackson told police he awoke to the child choking on the milk.
Jackson said he first picked up the child putting K.J. on his chest in Jackson’s hand and thrusting the baby forward by holding onto K.J.’s leg. Jackson contends when that didn’t work he held the baby by his shoulders and shook him.
The whole incident, Jackson alleges, took about 15 seconds.
Danville police were alerted to K.J.’s injuries — specifically bleeding from the top and side of his brain —by a Department of Child and Family Services worker in Urbana on Dec. 27. At that time, K.J. was receiving treatment at Carle Foundation Hospital.
Hogren, citing the DCFS worker who had talked to Carle doctors, testified in court that the injuries were consistent with “trauma or most likely, shaking.”
As of Dec. 31, Hogren said the child was blind and suffered from paralysis on one side of his body. He noted, however, that doctors said prior to court Thursday the baby’s condition has improved. No details were given.
Jackson acknowledged the shaking incident during an interview with police on Jan. 2 at the Public Safety Building.
A plea of not guilty was entered by Jackson during Thursday’s proceedings. He requested a jury trial and his next hearing date is scheduled for Feb. 22.
Jackson is charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery of a child under the age of 13 years. One count contends the incident possibly caused permanent disability, making it a Class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The second charge is a Class 3 felony contending the battery caused great bodily harm. That charge is punishable by up to a maximum of five years in state prison.
Jackson remains incarcerated at the Public Safety Building jail with bond set at $100,000.