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Police say man bruised, burned 9-month-old son

March 8th, 2014 8:17 pm by Max Hrenda

Police say man bruised, burned 9-month-old son

A Jonesborough man was arrested this week after police said he bruised and burned his 9-month-old son.

On Friday, Jonesborough Police Department officers arrested Christopher T. Edwards, 19, 205 N. 2nd Ave., Apt. 3, after the baby’s mother reported finding bruises and cigarette burn marks on her son’s body.

Director of Public Safety Craig Ford said the mother brought the baby to the police department when she filed her complaint.

“There was a lot of bruising and abrasions about the child’s head, face, and neck area,” Ford said. “The child had received a cigarette burn to (his) right wrist.”

Ford added that the baby's mother told police she thought Edwards was responsible for the injuries.

Ford said the Department of Children’s Services was contacted, and the baby was taken to a local hospital to undergo further examination. Police then located Edwards, who denied harming the child.

Despite his denial, however, Ford said Edwards gave police “conflicting statements” as to how his son came by his injuries.

“He said the child had fallen from a 3-foot bed,” Ford said. “The child is immobile; he’s not even crawling or anything yet. The injuries around the head, face, and neck were certainly inconsistent with a fall.”

As for the cigarette burn, Ford said Edwards told police that, too, was incidental.

“He had also stated he picked the child up while he was smoking, and the end of the cigarette fell off and burned the child, which was also inconsistent with the injury,” Ford said. “Based on the injuries to the child and the statements that he made, he was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect.”

Because of the nature of the baby’s injuries, however, as well as the baby’s age, Edwards’ charges fell under the classification of Haley’s Law, which carries stiffer penalties for those convicted of the offense.

“One thing that Haley’s Law did was it enhanced that particular crime from a Class B felony to a Class A felony,” Ford said. “As a part of that law, there are sections in there relative to continued torture or heinous acts, and also the fact that the child had not been taken to receive medical attention.”

Ford added that, in Tennessee, a guilty conviction on a Class A felony carries a sentence of anywhere from 15 to 60 years in prison, along with a fine not to exceed $50,000.

Edwards was being held at the Washington County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond. He was arraigned in Sessions Court on Friday, and will make his second appearance Thursday afternoon.

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