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New trial scheduled in baby-injury case

Is the District Attorney's Office going to try again after the mistrial with Petey Henthorne, the man accused of assaulting a baby?

— Sara, Medford

As you remember, Sara, the April trial of Petey Ray Henthorne on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment was declared a mistrial after jurors couldn't agree on a verdict.

Under Oregon law, at least 10 of the 12 jurors had to agree.

During deliberations, jurors sent a note to the court saying, "We are split 6-5 and nobody is budging," according to a court document posted later.

The note doesn't say the view of the majority, and doesn't explain why a 12th juror was not part of the split vote.

The evening the mistrial was declared, Senior Deputy District Attorney Terry Smith-Norton, the prosecutor in the case, said she would try again.

Based on court records, the District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case again.

Henthorne has a new trial scheduled for five to seven days beginning Sept. 25 in Jackson County Circuit Court.

His April trial was scheduled as a three-day trial but went into a fourth day.

The prosecution argued Henthorne lost his temper and assaulted a foster baby left in his care March 24, 2015, while other members of the household were out running errands and fishing. A photo of the 1-year-old taken earlier in the day showed him uninjured and able to hold his head up.

The baby's injuries included broken ribs, bruises under both sides of his chin indicating he had been strangled, ligature marks on his neck, bruising and marks on all sides of his face and head, retinal bleeding, brain bleeding and bruising inside his ears and mouth. He also suffered a stroke and seizures, Smith-Norton said during the trial.

Henthorne told investigators the baby accidentally fell off a bed when Henthorne left him there briefly to find diaper wipes.

The baby is the nephew of Henthorne’s girlfriend, who had taken him in as a foster child due to neglect in a home with other relatives. The aunt was also fostering another nephew, who was 12 years old at the time.

The defense implied the boy, who had been institutionalized with anger-management issues, may have been responsible for the baby's injuries. The defense argued the family may have been trying to shield the boy.

Henthorne faces the first-degree criminal mistreatment charge because he did not take the injured baby to the hospital, even after his girlfriend came home, felt broken bones in the baby's body and told Henthorne to take him to a hospital. The baby could no longer hold his head up. The girlfriend later called 911 and an ambulance took the baby to a hospital.

Two years after he was injured, the baby continued to suffer from cerebral palsy and had difficulty moving one side of his body. It wasn't yet known what long-term cognitive or vision impairments he would have, Smith-Norton said during the trial.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.