By County 17
A Gillette man has been charged with 31 counts of felony aggravated child abuse for allegedly injuring a 3-month-old infant to the point that he was hospitalized with broken bones.
Tyler Martinson, 28, was arraigned on the alleged charges Tuesday, Jan. 5, before Sixth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Paul Phillips.
The investigation regarding Martinson and the infant’s injuries date back to Jan. 2, after Campbell County Memorial Hospital emergency room staff contacted the Gillette Police Department (GPD) to report potential child abuse, according to the affidavit filed in the case.
The infant had been brought to the emergency room by Martinson and a woman, whose identity has been withheld to protect the identity of the infant, after they reportedly noticed the infant’s ribs were popping with every breath and were swollen.
Martinson advised ER staff that the baby was not using his right leg, which was splayed to the side and not moving. Hospital staff informed investigators that the baby was “screaming and inconsolable,” according to the affidavit.
Court documents further allege that Martinson told doctors “I might have been a little rough.”
Examinations revealed the baby had suffered 26 separate fractures to his ribs and five fractures to his legs, all of which were in various stages of healing, according to court documents.
ER staff informed investigators that, given the extent of the injuries, they could only be inflicted by force equivalent to that of a car crash, according to the affidavit.
Martinson allegedly also stated that he did not know how to pick up or handle an infant and had injured the infant several times over the past three months since the baby was born, the affidavit stated.
When asked to explain by investigators what had happened, Martinson allegedly told them “I got so angry, you know, I just have a lot going on and I just lost it, I guess,” according to the affidavit.
The female also allegedly informed investigators that she witnessed Martinson being “too rough” with the infant on several occasions that had resulted in bruising.
Due to the extent of his injuries, the infant was transferred to an out-of-state health care facility for treatment.
Deputy County and Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Reade advised that the state views Martinson as a flight risk, given the length of time Martinson could face in prison should he be convicted.
“He’s young and could run off to anywhere and start over fairly easily. He appears to have the backing of a lot of his family,” Reade stated.
He requested Phillips allow Martinson a $100,000 cash or commercial surety bond on the condition that Martinson have no contact with the victim or any key witnesses.
Martinson’s defense, Attorney Denise Urbin, argued that her client was not a flight risk. She said that bond for her client was appropriate considering his lack of a criminal record and his cooperation with law enforcement during the investigation.
“If he were a flight risk, he would have been gone a long time ago,” Urbin said, adding that Martinson is not a threat to the community and any potential threat he could pose to the infant would be alleviated by the no contact provision requested by the state.
Phillips said that, given the appearance that Martinson posed a significant threat to members of the community, including the victim and key witnesses, he would allow the bond requested by the prosecution.
Phillips added that Martinson, should he post bond, cannot contact the victim or witnesses in the case, must adhere to a strict curfew with work-related exceptions, and cannot leave Campbell County for any reason.
Martinson has also been ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device.
As of the time of publication, Martinson had not posted bond and was currently being detained at the Campbell County Detention Center.
Martinson faces 31 charges of felony aggravated child abuse. If convicted, Martinson could face a total of 775 years’ imprisonment, a $31,000 fine, or both.
His preliminary hearing will be held Jan. 12.