BLOOMINGTON – A Bloomington father serving 15 years in prison for aggravated assault and battery on his young son was sentenced to 30 years on Thursday after pleading guilty to murder in the boy’s death.
Ryan Howard, now 25, admitted to causing serious injury to the child in 2011 which led to infant death nine months later.
The state overturned the aggravated battery conviction that was based on the same allegations as the murder charges and will receive credit for the 2,517 days served on the original charge.
The state filed murder charges in 2016 after reopening an investigation into the case.
Howard admitted to police in 2011 that he violently shook the 2-month-old baby after becoming angry with the child’s mother, who left the baby with Howard while she was at a friend’s house, according to a statement read in court by the state assistant. Lawyer Jacob Harlow.
In his brief remarks to the judge, Howard said, “I am extremely sorry for everything that has happened.”
In a victim impact statement to Judge Scott Drazewski, the baby’s grandmother, Lori Morger, described the consequences of Howard’s actions on the baby and her daughter.
A feeding tube fed the baby during the last months of his life in a public facility. “He suffered tremendously,” Morger said.
A week before the baby’s first birthday, he was rushed to hospital with complications from his injuries, Morger said, and placed on life support. The baby’s mother was forced to make the difficult decision to remove him from medical assistance.
The baby’s mother still faces her loss, Morger said.
“She’s lost her mind. She’s surrendered to herself… she’s put her life aside and has no desire to improve,” Morger said.
Howard wiped away tears at Morger’s statement as he stood chained in front of the judge’s bench between officers from the state’s Department of Corrections.
Howard was eligible for 100 years due to the young age of the victim. He has to serve 100 percent of the sentence.