TACOMA, WA – Today Joshua Sullivan, 19, was sentenced to 16 and a half years in prison for violently shaking his 7-day-old son, causing severe injuries. He pleaded guilty on Jan. 31 to Assault of a Child in the First Degree. The state requested an exceptional sentence of 20 years in prison.
“Nothing is more incomprehensible than adults harming children,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “The child is receiving good medical care and appears to be recovering, but we won’t know the full effect of this senseless assault for years.”
On May 23, 2013, the defendant was awoken at approximately 3 a.m. by his crying infant son. The defendant got out of bed to check on his son and became frustrated because the baby kept “fussing.” He shook his son as he carried him up and down the stairs, causing his son’s head to hit the wall.
In the morning, the baby’s mother and the defendant noticed that both of the baby’s eyes were swollen. They took him to the hospital. The baby had bruises on his face, arms, back and ear. He was also bleeding from his umbilical cord. Medical staff determined that the baby suffered non-accidental head trauma, resulting in severe internal bleeding. He underwent emergency brain surgery.
The victim’s 3-year-old sibling said the defendant got “a mean look” and that “daddy squeezed the baby.”
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office