Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dad charged with three felonies in abuse of 3-month-old daughter (Bay City, Michigan)

Dad is identified as GARRET D. GWIZDALA.

Bay City father charged with life offense in connection with 3-month-old daughter's alleged abuse

By Cole Waterman on June 26, 2014 at 5:23 PM, updated June 27, 2014 at 11:19 AM

BAY CITY, MI — A 24-year-old father has been charged with three felonies in connection with what police say was the abuse of his 3-month-old daughter.

Bay County District Magistrate Janice M. Doner on Thursday, June 26, arraigned Garrett D. Gwizdala on single counts of first-degree child abuse, second-degree child abuse and assault by strangulation. The first charge is punishable by up to life imprisonment, while the latter two are 10-year felonies.

During the arraignment, Gwizdala sat at the courtroom's witness stand, red-eyed and crying.

Gwizdala's charges stem from an incident that occurred at his residence in the 3400 block of North Euclid Avenue the afternoon of Wednesday, June 25. According to police, Gwizdala called 911 at 5:32 p.m., requesting medical attention for his daughter who was not breathing.

A Bay County Sheriff's deputy also responded to the house. Gwizdala initially said he was lying on a couch with the baby on his chest, and that the child fell off and landed face-down on the floor, Undersheriff Troy Cunningham said.

"He later made admissions to what really happened, and we learned his original story was completely false," Cunningham said, adding the child's mother was not home at the time of the alleged incident.

Cunningham said Gwizdala told detectives he knowingly hurt the child. Gwizdala told detectives he obstructed the child's breathing and was upset because she wouldn't stop crying, Cunningham said.

The baby was taken via ambulance to McLaren Bay Region hospital and later transferred to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw for further treatment.

Cunningham said the girl is in stable condition as of Thursday afternoon. Cunningham also said the baby had injuries that indicated prior abuse.

At the arraignment, Bay County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Nancy E. Borushko asked Doner to set a bond of $300,000 cash-surety. Gwizdala's attorney, Jan A. Miner, opposed this, saying the sum was outrageous and unattainable for his family to post.

Doner granted Borushko's request, with the condition that Gwizdala have no contact with his daughter or anyone younger than 18 if he posts bond.

Gwizdala previously served a three-year probation term after pleading guilty to second-degree home invasion, a crime he committed in October 2008. He was discharged from probation on Feb. 1, 2012.

Gwizdala is to appear for a preliminary examination before Chief District Judge Timothy J. Kelly at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9.