Father pleads guilty to assault, abuse of infant son

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Sentencing recommendation carries 15-year prison term

By Sarah Bennett

A teen father pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony charges of assault and criminal abuse that stemmed from injuries his 3-month-old son sustained in February.

Alexander Michael Lee Irwin, 19, of Elizabethtown, was indicted in March on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal abuse.

He and the baby’s mother, Jessica A. Capponi, 20, were arrested Feb. 27 after their son was admitted to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville with a fractured skull, several broken ribs and a broken femur, according to Elizabethtown Police Department.

In addition, doctors found the 3-month-old boy weighed 4 ounces less than he did at birth and had not seen a physician since he was 2 days old, police said.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Logsdon said Irwin initially told officials he accidentally dropped the baby, which caused the injuries. However, in a plea offer he signed Tuesday, Irwin agreed his actions were done “wantonly and intentionally.”

The commonwealth recommended Irwin serve 15 years for assault and seven years for criminal abuse, according to the plea agreement. The sentences would run concurrent for a total of 15 years.

Irwin would have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before reaching parole eligibility.

A formal sentencing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 27.

On Wednesday, Logsdon said the baby is in foster care and has recovered. She added he not only has recovered physically but appears on track developmentally.

“The child is doing great now,” she said.

Though Irwin has pleaded guilty, Logsdon said Capponi’s case still is pending. It is set for jury trial Sept. 18.

The mother was indicted in March on a single charge of first-degree criminal abuse. The charge is a Class C felony, which is punishable by five to 10 years in prison if found guilty, according to Kentucky Revised Statutes.

Both parents remain lodged at Hardin County Detention Center. Capponi is held in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond and Irwin, $50,000.

The child abuse case was one of two that sent Elizabethtown detectives to Kosair Children’s Hospital overnight Feb. 26. The other child, Aleyah Noelle Williams, 6 months, died at the hospital, and her father, Barry W. Williams Jr., 21, is charged with murder.

A jury trial is set in Williams’ case for Feb. 3.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.