ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A Roanoke Circuit Court judge ruled on March 2 to maintain the sentencing for a Roanoke man found guilty of scalding his girlfriend’s four-year-old boy in 2018.
Justin Tyler Blackwell, 33, was charged with malicious wounding, abuse and neglect and child cruelty for the incident that occurred on August 11, 2018, according to the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Billingsley.
In the trial on December 4, 2019, the jury found Blackwell guilty of child cruelty and not guilty for the other charges. The jury recommended a sentence of 18 months.
The boy received treatment at the hospital for second-degree burns on his wrist and part of his arm. Blackwell maintained the burn was accidental, but the child told a forensic nurse an officer, and a social worker that Blackwell held his arm under hot water, Billingsley said.
According to a pediatric specialist, the burns were not consistent with an accidental burn.
A doctor, during the boy’s hospital visit, took pictures of his hand and wrist which showed the jury during the trial the extent of the burn, and fingermarks where Blackwell held the child, Billingsley said.
“(Blackwell) may have said it’s an accident, but the nature of the incident and the medical testimony show that it was not accidental,” Billingsley said.
Judge David Carson ruled on Monday to uphold the jury’s sentencing recommendation, citing that it would be rare for him to go against 12 citizens who spent considerable time in deliberating this case, Billingsley recalled.
Blackwell has already served three months of the 18-month sentence.
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