LA PLATA, Md. (May 10, 2019)—Tony Covington, State's Attorney for Charles County, announced that on Thursday, May 9, 2019, Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier sentenced Delontre James Austin, 23, to 15 years in prison and an additional 5 years of suspended time for Second Degree Child Abuse and Neglect of a Minor. Upon release, Austin will be on supervised probation for a period of 5 years.
On January 15, 2019, Austin entered a guilty plea to the aforementioned charges in Charles County Circuit Court.
On March 28, 2018, officers responded to Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. after receiving a report of suspected abuse of a 5-month-old victim. Upon arrival, officers learned that the baby was being treated for life-threatening injuries consistent with blunt force trauma, and suffered a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain, swelling, and bruising. Thankfully, the victim survived, however, with severe, lasting injuries. Officers also made contact with Austin in the hospital and the mother of the child. During their communications, Austin eventually told officers that he tossed the baby in a pack 'n play.
An investigation revealed that during the morning hours of March 27, 2018, Austin was alone with the victim and another child. Austin was awakened to the victim crying. When the victim continued crying, Austin became frustrated and reportedly tossed the victim to the bottom of her pack 'n play. Austin did not call for help and eventually went to work when the mother of the victim returned home. A call was later placed to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for concern over the condition of the victim. EMS then responded to the 4100 block of Falcon Place in Waldorf and transported the victim to the hospital.
Austin was apprehended on March 29, 2018, following a court hearing.
During sentencing, Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Freeman addressed the Court, "This is an above guidelines case. There is no excuse for the amount of force; there is no excuse for the amount of injury to a 5-month-old child because [she] was crying, and the defendant should definitely be sentenced accordingly."
Before sentencing Austin above guidelines, Judge Bragunier told him, "I know it's not easy to live with yourself. I do agree that you are not a public safety threat, but only to an innocent 5-month-old baby who was annoying you and crying. You snapped. The injuries [the victim] endured were caused by anger [and] force beyond comprehension."