Father gets probation in shaken-baby case

A remorseful young father who pleaded guilty to second-degree assault for shaking his baby has been sentenced to five years probation and will attend lengthy parenting and re-education programs.

Jackson County District Court Judge Tim Barnack sentenced Tyler Alexander Jackson, 19, to five years probation on May 14 for a single count of second-degree assault. The court dismissed a single count each of third-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment, said Mandy Gould, Jackson County prosecutor.

Jackson was distraught about his child's condition and cooperated with police, said Gould.

"He came forward very soon, was very forthright and very remorseful," she said. "Probation, in this case, seemed like it would be more effective than a prison term."

Jackson was arrested following an investigation stemming from a Feb. 7 emergency call to 9-1-1. Help was requested for a 9-week-old infant who had stopped breathing shortly before midnight on a Sunday evening. Police grabbed the baby girl, Adriana Jackson, from the distraught father's arms and rushed her to a waiting ambulance. The infant was breathing when she was transported to Rogue Valley Medical Center, but she was later transported to a Portland hospital in critical condition.

Detectives returned to the residence and questioned Jackson, the child's 18-year-old mother and the grandmother. Police determined Jackson was alone with his daughter at the time she suffered injuries that were consistent with a baby being grabbed and shaken, police said.

Jackson has unlimited contact with his wife and supervised visits with his daughter, she said. As part of Jackson's probation, he must attend a 48-week education program that focuses on cognitive restructuring, taking responsibility for one's own actions and changing how information is processed, she added.

"It's a very good program," Gould said. "I have really high hopes that things will work out."

Jackson faces three years in prison if he fails to comply fully with the terms of his probation, she said.

Between 1,200 and 1,400 infants are injured or die by shaking each year in the United States. Locally, the number of shaken-baby-syndrome cases remains high, said Dr. Kerri Hecox of the Children's Advocacy Center.

Adrianna Jackson was treated for head and internal injuries at Doernbecher Children's Hospital and has since recovered.

"There are no known long-term effects (from her injuries)," said Gould. "It's really a miracle in this case."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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