A 29-year-old Wabeno man convicted of critically abusing a toddler will spend 15 years in prison followed by 10 years extended supervision.
In July, Brandon Brunette pleaded guilty to child abuse causing great bodily harm. A charge of attempted first degree intentional homicide was dismissed, but can be refiled if the victim in the case dies within one year and one day from the plea deal. Three other charges were dismissed, but were considered during sentencing.
Throughout the two hour hearing emotions ran high as members Kolton Oulette's family recounted what happened that fateful day in October of 2013.
They took the stand describing the long term effects the boy, now age 3, will have to endure. He's in a permanent vegetative state-- requiring around the clock care. His grandmother told the judge that she wanted to see justice served.
“He [Brunette] needs to pay for what he did. I'm trying to think of a way to say what I am feeling. I'm not sure that would be the right thing to say. I want every day of his life to be hell-- like he put my grandson through,” said Christine Oulette.
According to court documents, Brunette initially said he accidentally dropped the boy, then two-years-old, from chest height, but later admitted to deputies the boy would not stop crying that's when he grabbed him by the leg and threw him 10-15 feet into a wall or TV stand.
Brunette also made a statement to the courtroom before his sentencing. He apologized to Kolton and expressed remorse for what he had done.
The boy's mother is also charged in the case. Jennifer Shepard is charged with failing to prevent bodily harm to a child, child neglect resulting in great bodily harm, aiding a felon and obstructing an officer. She'll return to court in late October for a motion hearing.
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