A father was arrested on charges of assault after breaking his son’s skull during visitation, prosecutors in California said.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that 29-year-old James David Higbee, was convicted of assaulting his toddler son, resulting in the child becoming disabled.
He was sentenced to life in state prison.
Higbee of San Dimas was convicted by a jury of two felony counts of assault on a child causing paralysis and child abuse.
Deputy District Attorney Deborah Scott, who prosecuted the case, said that the child’s maternal grandmother dropped off the 1-year-old boy at Higbee’s home for visitation.
During the short visit, the child became injured, according to the prosecutor.
When the maternal grandmother returned to the home from a short trip to the grocery store, the boy’s body was limp, his breathing was loud and uneven, and his eyes had rolled back in his head, the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor said that the maternal grandmother directed Higbee to call police.
When paramedics arrived, they took the child to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, where doctors concluded that he suffered two skull fractures, as well as severe brain injuries.
Due to the extensive nature of the child’s injuries, he was transferred to Loma Linda University Medical Center for treatment.
At trial, doctors testified that the child has had numerous skull and brain surgeries as a result of his injuries. Despite medical treatment, the now 4-year-old child is physically disabled.