Recognizing signs of physical child abuse
A Wichita father has been sentenced to over six years in state prison after police accused him of trying to kill his baby son. Prosecutors dropped an attempted murder charge against the dad as part of a plea deal.
Thomas Avery Harper was sentenced last week to 77 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and child abuse, Sedgwick County District Court documents show. Harper had also been charged with attempted second-degree murder, but that count was dismissed as part of his plea agreement with the district attorney’s office.
Harper was arrested Oct. 2 after Wichita police responded to a child abuse call at Wesley Medical Center, The Eagle previously reported. Police said they found a 2-month-old boy and his 20-year-old mother at the hospital.
The mother told officers that she had left her baby in the care of Harper, the boy’s father, and that the baby was asleep when she left. But when she returned, the boy had multiple injuries, police said. Harper, who was 20 at the time, was arrested at his home in the 2700 block of North Fairview, near 27th North and Arkansas.
Prosecutors alleged that Harper tried to kill the baby “by placing both hands around his neck and squeezing,” according to the criminal complaint. They also alleged he caused “great bodily harm or disfigurement” and did “torture or cruelly beat a child.”