Father DANYL HERRINGSHAW has received a 14-year prison sentence for shaking his 12-week-old daughter, fracturing her skull, and causing permanent brain injuries. The unrepentant dad called the sentence "bull----."
The mother has also been punished for "failing to report" an earlier incident in which dad shook the baby. Among other things, she is subject to a 10-year protective order barring her from contact with her daughter.
Dad gets 14 years for shaking, crippling infant
Sentence: Yelm man’s daughter faces life of pain, seizures, guardian testifies
JEREMY PAWLOSKI; The Olympian
Published: 07/10/09 12:00 am Updated: 07/10/09 6:44 am
OLYMPIA – A Thurston County judge sentenced a Yelm man to more than 14 years in prison Thursday for shaking his 12-week-old daughter, fracturing her skull and causing permanent injuries.
The child’s caregiver, Rebecca Stewart, said Lindsey Herringshaw, now 13 months old, faces a life of painful seizures and developmental issues because of the violent shakings she suffered last year at the hands of her father, Danyl Herringshaw, 21.
Stewart suggested in court that Herringshaw serve a sentence of the same duration.
“Danyl gave Lindsey a life sentence to pain. Danyl gave her a life sentence to seizures. Danyl gave Lindsey a life sentence to a feeding tube and the inability to eat orally – she will never get to enjoy food,” Stewart said.
“Danyl gave Lindsey a life sentence to delayed physical and cognitive development. Lindsey will never lead a normal life and her life will be cut short as a result of the violent shakings she received from her biological father, Danyl Herringshaw.”
Stewart said the girl also has vision problems and cannot sit up or crawl as a normally developing baby of that age would.
Herringshaw pleaded guilty earlier to one count of first-degree assault of a child, as well as two counts of second-degree criminal mistreatment. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor sentenced him to 171 months in prison.
A pre-sentence report states that Herringshaw does not take responsibility for what happened, despite having assaulted the child twice.
“The minimal amount of verbal expression of guilt or remorse could (be attributed) to Herringshaw’s lack of empathy for his daughter or possible notion that Herringshaw has yet to grasp the seriousness and the negative effects that his actions have on his daughter to date and for the rest of her life,” wrote Matt Frank, a community corrections officer with the state Department of Corrections, in a pre-sentence report.
During his pre-sentence interview June 17, Herringshaw called the sentencing “bull----,” the report said.
The case was referred to Tumwater police detective Jen Kolb last September, when the infant was admitted to Providence St. Peter Hospital with a skull fracture, a rib fracture and an older clavicle fracture that was healing. The baby was placed on a ventilator because of breathing difficulties and was transferred to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.
According to court papers, Herringshaw told detectives that “the baby would not stop crying” while he was caring for her at the Thunderbird Apartments on Tumwater’s Israel Road. “Something inside of him snapped and he could not take it any more,” the papers said.
Herringshaw said he also had shaken the baby about a month before. When detectives interviewed Herringshaw, they found a shaken-baby syndrome information pamphlet in the kitchen of the apartment, and he admitted he had read it after the first assault, court papers state.
The baby’s mother, Kati Bergman, also pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal to first-degree criminal mistreatment, domestic violence, for failing to report to authorities the earlier incident in which Herringshaw shook the baby. She was sentenced to 90 days of work release and is subject to a 10-year protection order barring her from contact with her daughter.
Herringshaw is under a lifetime protection order barring him from contact with his daughter as part of his sentence.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Skinder said he hopes the case will serve as a lesson about how fragile infants are and how they need to be treated with the utmost care.
The baby is now being cared for by Stewart, the baby’s step-great aunt, and her husband, Eric.
Kolb, who was present in court Thursday, called the case “heart-wrenching.” She said that Stewart and her husband are “doing an incredible job” giving the child “the love and care that she requires.”
“They are amazing people,” Kolb said.