A North Wilkesboro man was sentenced in Wilkes Superior Court Wednesday afternoon for two felonies involving the physical abuse of his infant daughter.
Jared McKinnley Bryan, 23, of Campbell Road pleaded guilty to one count of intentional child abuse. He was sentenced by Judge Michael Duncan, Wilkes County’s resident Superior Court judge, to not less than five nor more than seven years in prison. The lower end of the sentence must be served without possibility of parole.
Bryan was given credit for 106 days spent in jail awaiting trial.
He also pleaded guilty to willful or gross negligence child abuse. Duncan, in accordance with a plea agreement with the state, sentenced Bryan to not less than two nor more than three years and four months in prison. This sentence was suspended under 18 months of supervised probation which will begin upon his release from prison.
Duncan ordered that Bryan receive psychological evaluation and treatment while incarcerated and that he continue this upon his release as part of probationary conditions.
Prosecuting for the state was Assistant District Attorney Lee Bollinger and representing Bryan was attorney Jay Vannoy of North Wilkesboro.
A grand jury in Wilkes Superior Court initially indicted Bryan on one count of attempted murder and six counts of intentional child abuse causing serious bodily injury.
Det. Nancy Graybeal of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and arrested Bryan on Aug. 30, 2018.
The charges against Bryan resulted from acts that happened on different days at the Bryan home on Campbell Road, Graybeal said.
The sheriff’s office began investigating when a Wilkes Medical Center representative on June 7, 2018, reported treating an infant with an unusual clavicle bone (collarbone) fracture, reported Lt. Mike Pierce of the sheriff’s office. The victim was about a month old then.
The infant had been taken by her mother, Sarah Joines, to Wilkes Medical Center and from there was transferred to Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem.
Joines, 18 at the time, lived at the same address on Campbell Road. “There are no signs to point to the mother knowing what was going on,” said Graybeal after the arrest, adding that only Bryan, the mother and the infant lived at the residence.
Graybeal said that in addition to a fractured clavicle, the infant had pharyngeal wounds, bruising to the toes, buttocks, posterior thighs and pneumomediastinum, which is the abnormal presence of air in the mediastinum (center of the chest).
Bryan initially denied abusing his daughter, but made a statement admitting that he caused the injuries just prior to being administered a polygraph (lie detector) test by agents with the State Bureau of Investigation, Bollinger said when summarizing evidence during the sentencing hearing.
Bryan admitted that he broke the infant’s clavicle when he violently pulled down straps in her car seat, the prosecutor said. Asked why he had done this, Bryan responded, “I was being a jerk.”
Bryan also admitted to shoving a sock down the infant’s throat on one occasion, causing the pharyngeal injuries, and forcefully blowing air into her lungs, causing the chest injury.
“I thought I had messed up and killed her,” he told investigators. Asked why he had done this, Bryan said, “I was just being mean.”
Bryan said he put a blanket over the baby’s head several times to smother her, Bollinger told the court. The bruises to the infant’s toes were caused when Bryan picked her up by one leg and squeezed her toes.
Bollinger said the child, who didn’t sustain permanent injuries, currently lives with Joines’ mother.
Vannoy said his client was evaluated by a psychologist in Raleigh and diagnosed with an adjustment disorder. He said Bryan has since taken parenting and anger management classes.
Vannoy said he believes the violent behavior toward the infant was a result of stress experienced by Bryan as a new parent trying to support his family. “This type of behavior is out of character” for Bryan, who was raised by loving parents in a close-knit family.
He said Bryan still wants to be a father to his daughter.
As part of the plea agreement, Duncan ordered that Bryan be allowed to remain out on bond until Oct. 24. On that date, he is to turn himself in at the Wilkes County Jail, where he will be transferred to the N.C. Department of Corrections.
Duncan said any future visitation with the child will only be allowed through the Department of Social Services or on the order of a District Court judge.