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Local father gets 42 years for abusing 10-week-old daughter

By J.J. Smith. A 32-year-old local father was convicted of First Degree Injury to a Child and sentenced to 42 years in the Texas State penitentiary by a Rockwall County jury Sept. 30  for physically assaulting his 10-week-old baby daughter.

Jonathan Andrew Peak was living with his wife and daughter in Royse City at the time of the offense. They had been married for less than one year. Since he had no prior criminal history, he was eligible for probation. He will be eligible for parole in 21 years.

He was also fined $10,000 by 382nd District Court Judge Brett Hall, who presided over the proceedings.

According to Assistant District Attorney Stephani Woodward, the lead prosecutor in the case, Edwards claimed his wife and her family members caused the injuries.

He initially pled “Not Guilty,” and was represented by Dallas attorney Antonius Massar. He was living with his grandmother in Rockwall at the time of his arrest and was indicted by the grand jury Sept. 9, 2009.

Woodward explained that the baby was taken by her mother to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas in July, 2009, after she exhibited increased fussiness and vomiting.  The child also had a bruised eye that her father claimed she accidentally received while in his care.

The hospital reported that, in addition to the bruise, the baby had two subdural hematomas (bleeding on the brain), multiple broken ribs, and a broken wrist and leg.

Dr. Matthew Cox, a Board Certified Physician in Pediatric Child Abuse and the Medical Director of the Child Abuse program at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, testified that the injuries sustained were intentionally inflicted and were in different stages of healing.

According to Cox, this indicated that the child had been assaulted on more than one occasion.  He added that the same injuries sustained by the victim are fatal to one in four children and 80 pecent of those surviving such injuries have lifelong disabilities.

The victim is now 17 months old, and, while her condition has improved, Woodward said she continues to receive therapy. Her family is hopeful that she will not have any ongoing learning disabilities.

“She is a very lucky little girl,” said Woodward.  “I believe that if the child’s mother had not taken her to the hospital when she did, the defendant would have continued to abuse her and would have eventually killed her.”

“The jury acted as one voice to speak on behalf of that defenseless baby,” said Kenda Culpepper, Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney.

“Children should be embraced and protected by a parent, not subjected to agonizing and life changing pain.”

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