SCHENECTADY — Crystal Tinney said she had no words to describe the level of pain, panic and heartbreak as she watched her child cling to life last year after being assaulted by his father.
“I couldn’t hold him, feed him or touch him anywhere except for his left cheek, powerless to provide any comfort or relief to my two-month-old as he suffered,” Tinney said before her husband’s sentencing on Tuesday in Schenectady County Court.
Her son, Wyatt, spent a week in the ICU at Albany Medical Center for the brain injury he suffered in the April 2018 assault and his recovery continues.
The mother spoke Tuesday at the sentencing of Tristan Tinney, the boy’s father. Tinney admitted in January that he recklessly assaulted the child. In addition to the brain injury, the baby suffered fractured ribs and had a seizure consistent with shaken baby syndrome. The baby went untreated for 18 hours before the mother saw the seizure and sought medical attention, prosecutors have said.
Following Tinney’s admission, both the prosecution and defense agreed to a six year state prison sentence, which Judge Kathleen Hogan imposed Tuesday.
“I don’t see any remorse and that troubles me,” Hogan told the defendant in court. “Your son deserved more from you.”
Video: Watch Judge Kathleen Hogan sentence Tinney:
The judge also asked Tinney to think about his actions, the many options that were available to him then that he disregarded.
“You had options and you chose the one thing you shouldn’t have done,” Hogan said. “Then you covered up your conduct all the while putting your baby at greater medical risk so the injuries to him were magnified by your lack of willingness to accept responsibility.”
The defendant initially told investigators his son’s injuries were caused accidentally, but doctors disproved that account, and Tristan later admitted he recklessly assaulted the child in April while his mother was at work.
The prosecutor in the case, Christina Tremante-Pelham, told the court the incident wasn’t the case of an overwhelmed parent making a bad choice that he immediately regretted.
“This case was about a man who made a series of choices, the first of which was to assault his infant son,” Tremante-Pelham said.
Tristin Tinney then decided to do nothing for 18 hours, and he stayed silent even after doctors started treating the boy and after they told him Wyatt might not make it through the night, Tremante-Pelham said.
The defendant declined to give his own statement in court.
Defense attorney Adam Parisi disputed the prosecution’s account of what his client did, along with other aspects of the case, despite the reckless assault guilty plea. Parisi said an appeal of Tinney’s sentence is expected.
As Crystal Tinney completed her statement to the court, the defendant stared downward.
The mother recounted her son’s time in the hospital, where his condition had to be taken one day at a time.
Exactly how his injuries will affect him as he grows older remains unclear as he still remains so young, she said.
“We don’t know what other help he will need as he grows, but we know it will be lifelong,” Crystal said.