The man who broke his 3-month-old son’s leg, Kelton Ragan, has pleaded guilty and has apologized on Monday.
The Father of the 3-month-old has asked for a chance to get life together and provide all needs for his son.
I can’t show how deeply remorseful I am for my actions,” he told McCracken Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach during a sentencing hearing.
This is never going to happen again,” Ragan said. “All I want to do is just be there and provide for my son and be the father he needs. I never meant to do anything to hurt my son — I never intentionally hurt my son. What happened was a freak accident due to my recklessness.
Ragan, 19, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a charge of first-degree criminal abuse of a child less than 12 years old, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He admitted he broke his son’s femur in November when he picked the infant up by his legs and turned the baby over, causing the leg to snap.
The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office recommended an eight-year sentence, which Kaltenbach imposed Monday. Ragan would be eligible for parole after he’s served 20 percent, or approximately 18 months, of his sentence.
With his grandparents at his side, Ragan stood quietly before the judge Monday while his grandfather, Keith Ragan, pleaded for a reduced sentence.
No one has been able to speak on (Ragan’s) behalf, so we would like to do so now,” the grandfather told the judge.
Kelton did not intentionally hurt his son, he did not abandon his son, and when he realised (the child) was hurt, he took him to the hospital. Nothing in his actions was premeditated or deliberate or with intent to hurt his son.
Keith Ragan lashed out at local media coverage and prosecutors, claiming his grandson was painted as a child abuser from the start.
We feel like the prosecutor and the deplorable coverage in the newspapers and TV in this matter have presented their depiction of Kelton as the face of child abuse,” he said. “In no place where we have lived in the southeastern United States have we seen a 19-year-old virtually tried in newspapers and television so irresponsibly, over and over, as Kelton was treated.
Had his grandson gone to trial, Keith Ragan said the news coverage of the case would have jeopardised Kelton Ragan’s chance of a fair trial.
He feels — we all feel — that he would have had little chance of an impartial jury,” the grandfather continued.
Faced with the belief that an impartial jury was not probable — and the prosecution’s only offer was an eight-year sentence — faced with the possibility of not having a life with his sons until he was (in his 20s), he did what any 19-year-old would … and he accepted the least of the punishments that were offered to him and agreed to the eight-year sentence.
The grandfather characterised the Commonwealth’s offer as harsh and disproportionate to his grandson’s crime.
Kaltenbach, however, disagreed.
We’re talking about a 3-month-old child (that is) completely and utterly defenceless, unable to protect himself,” the judge said. “And once a child is beaten or injured like that, obviously all a legal system that is designed to protect children can do is react to it.
After reviewing the medical records in the case, Kaltenbach said the commonwealth’s recommendation was reasonable given the facts.
Not only is there a fractured femur, which takes a substantial amount of force to fracture, on a 3-month-old child … there’s also a healing fracture of the child’s ribs, most commonly caused by shaking,” Kaltenbach said.
I do not find, Mr. Ragan, that you have been mistreated in this sentence,” he continued, adding a lighter sentence would greatly depreciate the seriousness of the crime.
It sends a direct message to you and anyone else that, children’s are valuable and they can’t be abused in any way.