Originally created 04/15/04

Baby's parents admit to abuse



In two separate courtrooms Wednesday, a soldier and his wife pleaded guilty to charges that they shook and assaulted their 16-day-old baby last summer.

Pfc. Brian Kelly and his wife, Amy Delaney Kelly, 19, are charged with the abuse of their son, Tristan Kelly, at their Fort Gordon home.

Pfc. Kelly appeared before a court-martial to enter his plea before a military judge at Fort Gordon.

Col. Gary Smith, the military judge at the post, sentenced him to 13 years in military confinement and a dishonorable discharge, said Marla Jones, a civilian public affairs officer.

The sentence now must go before the post's commander, Brig. Gen. Janet Hicks, for review, Ms. Jones said.

Because the government alleged that the incident happened on a federal installation, Mrs. Kelly's case is being handled through the federal court system.

Mrs. Kelly appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. to enter her guilty plea to one of three counts of cruelty to children, which the judge accepted.

Mrs. Kelly was not sentenced at the Wednesday court session.

FBI Agent Gytis Zunde testified that investigators found that at 3 a.m. Aug. 16, Tristan began to cry.

He said that Pfc. Kelly then slammed the child into a swing set, then slammed Tristan into a bed and shook him.

Agent Zunde said Mrs. Kelly also shook and slammed Tristan onto the bed to stop him from crying.

Two hours later, she put her hand, holding a blanket, over Tristan's mouth for at least 30 seconds.

More than a day later, when Tristan started to make twitching movements, the couple took him to Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, and he was later transferred to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, the agent testified.

Doctors said Tristan suffered a subdural hematoma, a type of brain injury consistent with a stroke or abuse, and other hemorrhages that were the result of asphyxiation, Agent Zunde said.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.