LONGVIEW, Wash. A 31-year-old who admitted to violently shaking his infant child to get him to stop crying was sentenced to three-and-a-half-years in prison.
Brooks Hamilton admitted to abusing his then 4-month-old son Jace after the child was taken to Randall Children’s Hospital on February 8 with a traumatic brain injury, court documents show.
Jace, now 10 months old, is recovering. Family says he attends physical therapy once a week for an hour.
Physicians say he is slightly developmentally-delayed and currently has the learning capacity of an eight-month-old. With ongoing care, however, they expect him to make a full recovery.
"[He's a] happy kid," Jace's stepfather Robert Curlee told KATU. "Smiling, laughing, likes to pull mom's hair, pulls her glasses off her face to get up in the morning, it’s an everyday thing. He is an amazing, little kid."
According to authorities, Hamilton picked the infant up by the head and shook him in an effort to stop his crying. No one else was home at the time.
Hamilton told police he called the boy's mother to report what happened. He did not call police. The boy's mother did when she got home.
Curlee says the outcome may have been different if help was called any later.
”If it wasn't for the paramedics, firefighters, one firefighter that grabbed him and said, ‘he needs to go.’ Without them, he would probably be dead," Curlee said.
He and the boy's mother said they hoped for a harsher sentence for Hamilton.
A judge handed down a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence, plus 18-months of community supervision.
He’s also been ordered to have “no contact” with Jace, the boy’s mother, or her family for 10 years.
While Curlee was not a part of Jace's life when the abuse occurred, he carries some guilt and shame.
"I wish I was there from the beginning," he said, "from the time he was born, and this would’ve never happened."
Curlee wants to remind parents to be vigilant, and to report child abuse or suspected child abuse at first hint.
“Make sure you pay attention to every detail," Curlee said. "He didn't want to be a father. That's one sign right there."
Reports can be made through your local police department or by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline or by calling at 1-800-799-7233.
Read Jace's mom's impact statement:
Thank you for opportunity to make a statement regarding the sentencing of Brooks Hamilton. I am torn between being relieved the court proceedings are coming to a close and anxious about my son’s future. Specifically, my worries center around two issues: 1. providing the best possible support for my son with regards to any developmental delays caused by Mr. Hamilton; and 2. severely limiting or completely ceasing any potential contact Mr. Hamilton has with my son to prevent any additional injuries, whether physical or emotional, when Mr. Hamilton is released from prison. I am requesting the court’s assistance with the second concern.
From the emotions of being a new mom and being amazed by my little boy, I would have never thought that someone that I loved and that would help raise Jace would go and completely break all trust. I fear leaving Jace with someone that is not my mother or my father. Right now, it feels like that fear will never go away. Within the short two months that Jace was home from the Southwest NICU Center, the abuse at the hands of Mr. Hamilton started. I had no knowledge of Mr. Hamilton’s actions. I struggle with the guilt of not being able to prevent the injuries my son sustained. While my son will not remember the abuse, I WILL. To protect my son, I would like to request that the court order Brooks Hamilton to sign his parental rights away.
When my son was released from protective custody into my care, I had to take time off from work to care for him and take him to numerous doctors appointments. This caused a serious financial strain. Thankfully, I have the support of my amazing family. This is the family I am choosing to have in my son’s life.
My son is now developmentally delayed due to the brain bleed caused by Mr. Hamilton and he is behind on milestones. When my son arrived at Randalls Childrens Hospital, they told me that if he had been shaken for three more seconds he would not be here today. With the help of Randalls Childrens Hospital and CPS, my son is here today and alive and for that I could not be more grateful. Thanks to my family and support system, my son is safe, happy, loved, and thriving. Today, I am requesting the court’s assistance to ensure that he remains safe and out of the reach of Mr. Hamilton for the entirety of his childhood.
Thank you for your time, your honor.