Dad KELSEY CANDLER will be spending 15-20 years in prison--basically for destroying any life his son might have had. Notice that Mom has had her parental rights terminated too, though her responsibility in all this is not clarified--other than having bad taste in men.
Prison for dad, struggles for babyBy Todd Cooper
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Antonio Candler turned 1 year old the other day, but that may be one of the few firsts the child experiences.
The profoundly disabled boy likely will have no first step, his foster mother told a judge in a letter Tuesday. No first baseball game. No first day of school. No first solid food.
Little Antonio is being fed through a tube. Medical personnel have been focused on ensuring he can swallow his saliva without choking.
Such is the damage his father wrought when Kelsey Candler, 22, shook the healthy 2-month-old baby in June at their Omaha home, fracturing the boy’s skull and causing retinal hemorrhaging.
Noting the child’s catastrophic injuries, Douglas County District Judge Greg Schatz on Tuesday sentenced Kelsey Candler to 15 to 20 years in prison. Candler had pleaded guilty to child abuse and faced up to 20 years.
“This is an absolutely horrific set of facts,” said Candler’s attorney, Chad Brown. “It’s unbelievably sad, in more ways than one.”
Brown said Kelsey Candler was raised in a fine family by parents who had adopted him as a young child out of his native Honduras. However, he developed a mental illness and eventually was diagnosed as bipolar, Brown said.
The Fremont High School graduate alternated between taking his medication and self-medicating with marijuana, his lawyer said.
Then came June 10.
Candler became upset when Antonio began screaming. He put a bottle on the shelf and grabbed Antonio. He first claimed that he dropped Antonio, then tried to shake him awake.
However, doctors determined that Antonio had fractures to both the front and back of his head, indicating that his head likely had been bashed into some solid object, prosecutor Jim Masteller said.
During the court case, a Nebraska Regional Center doctor evaluated Kelsey Candler and confirmed that he was bipolar. However, the psychiatrist concluded that Candler was capable of discerning right from wrong at the time he shook the baby, Judge Schatz noted.
Both Candler and the child’s mother, Angela McGowan, have relinquished their parental rights.
The judge’s voice broke as he spoke of reading the foster mother’s letter detailing Antonio’s condition.
“It’s a terribly sad case,” Masteller said. “I don’t know that he’s going to progress. The (doctors) expect him to be infant-like for the rest of his life.”