JEFFERSON — A Geneva man was sentenced to two years probation following a November child endangerment conviction stemming from an incident that occurred in 2014 and left a then 3-month-old badly injured.
Jonathan Velazquez, 25, of Geneva, was found guilty of one count of child endangerment in connection to a then 3-month-old girl's injuries that led her to develop shaken baby syndrome. During the trial, medical witnesses testified that the child had a skull fracture and inter-cranial bleeding.
Prior to sentencing, Ashtabula County Assistant Prosecutor Gene Barrett asked for a 36-month prison sentence.
"(The child) is unable to care for herself ... which is the result of this defendant," he said.
Barrett said the prison sentence was necessary to send a message to regarding the importance child care.
Velazquez said he did not believe he had endangered the child.
"I shouldn't be held accountable for something just because I was there," he said.
Velazquez's attorney, David Per Due, asked for probation for his client stating he was discharged from the Army, has a disability payment from the military and is employed.
"This was an incident that sadly turned into a tragic accident," Per Due said.
Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci said "the state believes a sentence of incarceration was appropriate based on the serious permanent harm caused to the child," he said.
Following his sentencing, Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court Judge Gary L. Yost warned Velazquez that he could serve up to a year in prison if he breaks any of his probation rules and conditions which includes a mental health evaluation and possible counseling. He also was given a condition of performing 40 hours of community service but no fine.
Yost said he would be responsible for any court costs.
Velazquez was originally indicted in early 2014 but the charges were dropped. He was re-indicted in February 2017 after prosecutors said they found evidence indicating the child had been raped. Velazquez then faced one count of rape, one count of sexual battery, two counts of felonious assault and two counts of child endangerment as well as a misdemeanor domestic violence, according to Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court records.
In November, he was found guilty of child endangerment but acquitted of a felonious assault charge, a second count of child endangerment and one count of domestic violence.
The rape charge, the sexual battery charge and one count of felonious assault were dropped during the trial after Yost upheld a defense motioned, Barrett said.
Ohio law allows a judge to throw out charges if he determines the "evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction."