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New trial finds man guilty of assaulting child

A Medford man whose previous trial ended with a hung jury was sentenced to 7½ years in prison after a new jury found him guilty of abusing a toddler and withholding medical care.

Petey Ray Henthorne, 28, was sentenced Thursday evening in Jackson County Circuit Court after a jury unanimously found Henthorne guilty of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment. Assault in the first degree carries a mandatory minimum 90-month sentence under Oregon's Measure 11 law.

A previous trial ended with a mistrial in April. In that trial, Henthorne had argued that the child fell off the bed while he went to look for diaper wipes in another room, but Senior Deputy District Attorney Terry Smith-Norton, who prosecuted the case, argued that the child's severe injuries didn't match an accidental fall off a bed onto a carpeted floor.

Henthorne had been watching his girlfriend's 1-year-old nephew alone March 24, 2015, when the child became unresponsive. The boy was in his girlfriend's custody as a foster child.

At just before 4 p.m. that day, Henthorne sent a text message alerting his girlfriend that the child wasn't conscious. Medical help was delayed until 6:08 p.m., when the boy's aunt called 911.

The child was ultimately life-flighted to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland; he suffered a stroke from his injuries, according to a release issued by the Jackson County District Attorney's office. The boy had a swollen neck and throat, along with bruises and abrasions on his neck, which prosecutors said were signs the child had been strangled.

Scalp and facial injuries showed the child was struck with an object, according to the release. The child's head injuries including a subdural hematoma, a buildup of blood between the brain and its outermost covering, along with injuries to both of the child's retinas, which medical journals show to be commonly associated with shaken-baby syndrome.

A liver contusion and elevated enzyme levels in the child's blood were evidence the infant suffered multiple blows, according to prosecutors. Other injuries included five rib fractures, an adult-sized bite mark on the boy's face, a bruised penis and scrotum and bruising all over the infant's body including his inner ears.

Smith-Norton said the child continues to struggle with cerebral palsy and has difficulty and weakness moving the right side of his body. The boy can't place his foot down at a 90-degree angle and has undergone extensive physical therapy. The child, now 3, has shown speech delays, but other cognitive impairments aren't yet clear.

The verdict came at the end of a four-day trial. A mistrial in the previous trial was declared April 7 after a jury refused to budge from a 6-5 split. Under Oregon law, at least 10 of 12 jurors must agree on a verdict.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Petey Ray Henthorne