Gulfport man gets 40 years for child abuse | Crime
On Thursday, a Harrison County jury found Daniel Wayne Byers, 26, of Gulfport guilty of two counts of felony child abuse, according to District Attorney Joel Smith.
Smith said Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced Byers to forty years in prison.
An investigation into Byers began September 4, 2011. Byers brought a 2-year-old girl, who was in severe pain, to an emergency room at Garden Park Hospital at around 2:45 a.m.
Byers told hospital workers the girl had fallen out of her bed. Medical examinations revealed the child suffered a fracture to her femur and had significant bruising and injury to several parts of her body, Smith said.
Because of the extent of her injuries, the victim was taken to USA Hospital in Mobile, AL.
Smith said, a USA Hospital pediatric orthopedic surgeon contradicted Byers explanation for the girl's injuries.
In his testimony, the doctor said, the victim suffered a spiral fracture of the femur. He said that kind of injury is caused by a deliberate, intentional twisting motion. The doctor also said the femur is the strongest bone in the human body and can only break under an incredible amount of force. Other medical professional witnesses testified that the victim suffered extensive bruising and abrasions to her head, neck, chest and down the back side of her body.
Detective Hugh Frazier's investigation determined the abuse happened during a period when the victim and Byers were alone.
District Attorney Joel Smith stated, “At a young age, children such as this victim are simply unable to stand up for themselves. That is why it to so important that all aspects of our community come together to ensure the protection of children and punish those who bring them harm. The medical and law enforcement professionals in this case were tremendous examples for us all.”
Assistant District Attorney Alison Baker told the jury, based on medical testimony and the extent of the injuries, the child falling from the bed wasn't a plausible reason.
"Much like the predator cuts the weak from the herd and goes in for the kill, that’s what happened here. The victim is a 2-year-old, innocent child, who looked to you for everything," Bourgeois said.
Byers did not make any statements during his sentencing trial.
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