Hammond man sentenced in child neglect case that’s 4 1/2 years old

2014-02-28T16:54:00Z 2014-02-28T22:12:05Z Hammond man sentenced in child neglect case that’s 4 1/2 years oldLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 28, 2014 4:54 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | In a case that has dragged out in court for more than 4 1/2 years, a Hammond man was sentenced Friday for failure to seek prompt medical attention for his then-7-month-old child.

Donald Tarry, 43, pleaded guilty to the C felony charge in a plea agreement reached with Lake County prosecutors to reduce his original B felony charge for neglect of a dependent.

The case revolved around severe injuries his child suffered in what medical personnel diagnosed as “shaken baby syndrome” in January 2010.

On Friday, Lake Criminal Judge Salvador Vasquez sentenced Tarry to 18 months in the Department of Correction, which is half the sentence Lake County prosecutors asked for in the plea agreement.

The plea agreement that reduced the original charges stemmed from Tarry’s failure to seek immediate medical attention for the child despite such injuries as fractured ribs, bleeding on the brain called subdural hematomas and bilateral retinal damage.

Tarry was originally released on bail with a no-contact order from Vasquez on Dec. 19, but was taken back into custody on Dec. 23 when Porter County officials were notified the man was in contact with his girlfriend, her children and the child who was injured.

Tarry’s original sentencing hearing of Jan. 28 had to be reset because Lake County government offices were closed due to inclement weather.

During Friday’s sentencing hearing that lasted more than 1 1/2 hours, Tarry’s father, John W. Tarry, of Merrillville, spoke on his son’s behalf.

“He has a high work ethic. He loves his children and is a family man,” the elder Tarry said. “Until the last 4 1/2 years, alcohol hadn’t been a problem.”

John Tarry cited numerous stressing factors in his son’s life, including job losses and other criminal charges, which led him to drink heavily.

Donald Tarry broke into tears when talking about a recent visit from his older child at the Lake County Jail and also asked Vasquez for leniency during his statement.

Defense attorney Edward Page portrayed Donald Tarry as a man falsely accused of crimes that wrecked his life and who further ruined his life with drinking. Page cited the defense’s own expert witnesses who said the child didn’t suffer from shaken baby syndrome, but was dropped, possibly by a sibling.

However, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Catherine Breitweiser-Hurst said Donald Tarry is “a very manipulative character. He was the last adult to be with (the child) … He is extremely controlling.”

Hammond Police Det. Mark Biller testified during the hearing that he had investigated the case. Based on that investigation and the child’s medical records, Biller said Tarry is responsible for the crime.

In deciding the sentence, Vasquez noted the severe injuries suffered by the child “could have affected the child’s life if not survivable.”

Three other felony counts, including neglect of a child and battery, were dismissed.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



About Merrillville

Town Hall

7820 Broadway Ave. Merrillville, IN 46410
219.769.5711
Fax: 219.756.6170

Police Department

7820 Broadway Merrillville, IN 46410
Emergency: 911
Non-emergency 219.769.3531
Administration: 219.769.3722
Crime Tip Hotline: 219.756.6180 ext. 54

Fire Department

26 W. 73rd Ave. Merrillville, IN 46410
Emergency: 911
Non-emergency 219.769.0004
Fax: 219.756.6170

Parks & Recreation

5750 Tyler Place Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: 219.980.5911

Lake County Public Library

1919 West 81st Avenue Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: 219.769.3541

Merrillville Community School Corporation

6701 Delaware Street Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: 219.650.5300