By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
Ninth Judicial District Judge Stephen Quinn sentenced a Portales man to 18 years in the department of corrections for first-degree child abuse.
Robert Neely, 24, was ordered to serve 18 years in the department of corrections on Monday afternoon. Neely is currently being held at the Roosevelt County Detention Center.
Neely was indicted on Jan. 18 on first-degree child abuse charges and was accused of injuring his son, who was three-months old at the time of the incident. The baby was taken to Roosevelt General Hospital.
According to court documnets, the child suffered internal injuries to his brain. The incident report also indicated the boy suffered broken bones and a skull fracture.
Neely told police he had been sitting at a computer desk while the infant was lying on the floor, court records show. Neely said the infant started “fussing” and he got up to check the baby, then his feet became tangled and he fell on the baby.
Amanda Johnson, the infant boy’s mother, was shopping at the time of the incident, according to police reports.
“No matter what you think you’re going through, this is for the rest of his (infant) life,” Johnson, in tears, said. “I can’t even imagine what you put him through. You’re his father and you’re not supposed to do those things. You’re supposed to take care of him.”
Roosevelt General Hospital medical workers didn’t feel Neely’s explanation was consistent with the baby’s injuries, according to a Portales police report. Children Youth Families Department and Johnson now have custody of the child.
Neely was asked to respond to the allegations and testimony made against him.
“I have nothing to say,” Neely said.
Karen Roach, foster parent of the child, said Neely’s son is, “a precious child who is loved by many.”
CYFD officials said doctors feared the infant would be a vegetable because of his injuries and that four therapists are working with the infant. CYFD officials also said the boy suffers from impaired vision due to the head injuries.
Quinn also ordered that Neely pay $10,000 in fines, along with the boy’s medical and the therapy bills.
“This sentence is appropriate,” prosecutor Donna Mowrer said. “Robert Neely sentenced this child to pain for the rest of his life.”
Quinn brought up the fact that Neely pleaded no contest to child abuse from a different case. Neely was on probation for child abuse of an eight-month child from a previous relationship. Mowrer said the child suffered multiple broken bones, and the child has since been adopted.