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Man who violently abused infant sentenced to prison

Crime Watch

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Baby Theron | Courtesy photo

IDAHO FALLS — A man who caused permanent brain damage to his infant son has been sentenced to prison.

Stanley Gage Scruggs, 24, will spend up to 10 years in prison for felony injury to a child. District Judge Joel Tingey sentenced Scruggs Thursday to four years fixed in prison and six years indeterminate.

“Eight months old – my son has permanent brain damage. He has a fractured skull. He has a traumatic brain injury. He has broken ribs and he has a fractured ankle because of the hands of his father. The one man that should have protected him above all else,” Lacey Brower, Scruggs’ ex-fiancee and mother of the infant, said during the sentencing hearing.

Stanley Gage Scruggs

In November, Scruggs entered a plea agreement and pleaded guilty as charged to felony injury to a child. As part of the agreement, the prosecution agreed to recommend a sentence of three years fixed with indeterminate time.

Four-month-old Theron was rushed to Primary Children’s Hospital in August after he began having seizures. The little boy’s head was swollen and he had bleeding on his brain. Doctors believed his injuries to be consistent with shaken baby syndrome, according to court documents.

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When Scruggs was questioned about the injuries, he denied ever hurting the child.

During the sentencing hearing, Scruggs’ testimony to the investigator was read aloud.

“On or about August the 9th, I came home from work upset. Me and Lacey Brower had been fighting for a few days prior to that. On the way home, I stopped off and got a pack of Bud Light tallboy beers,” he told the investigator. “Later that night I started drinking and due to me drinking I got angry. I shook my child out of frustration from the day. As I was shaking him his head hit the back of the couch causing an injury to my son. I put him in his bed and passed out on the couch in the middle of my drinking.”

In her testimony, Brower said she is afraid for her and her son’s safety when Scruggs is released. She described him as being possessive, jealous and said he would show up at her work and accuse her of cheating on him with whomever she was working with at the time.

Brower is a caregiver for developmentally disabled adults.

She said she first started noticing small bruises on Theron shortly after returning to work following maternity leave. When she confronted Scruggs, she said he always had a seemingly viable reason for the bruises. But she was never sure if she could believe those stories.

“Even now, he is yet to give us the whole story of what happened to baby Theron when he shook him. Every doctor and specialist we have seen from Primary Children’s Hosptial in Salt Lake City, Utah have all stated that the story and timeline do not match the injuries. His own son’s life depended on him telling the truth so that they knew how to take care of him and he still couldn’t man up to it,” Brower said.

Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey recommended a sentence of three years fixed with seven years indeterminate. Scruggs’ public defender, John Thomas, recommended Scruggs be placed on a rider.

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“The sad irony of this is that I could pronounce the maximum sentence of 10 years. Then, in 10 years you’d get to get on with your life but that’s not true for the child,” Tingey said before sentencing Scruggs.

Scruggs said he was sorry for what he did.

“I just want to apologize for all of my actions and apologize to everybody involved for changing their lives so drastically,” Scruggs said in the hearing.

Baby Theron and his mother

Tingey said the case is sad and disturbing on multiple levels.

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