KENOSHA — Before Nathen Wright received his sentence Aug. 1, a prosecutor put images on a courtroom screen showing a normal brain scan for a toddler, then a brain scan for a child Wright admitted to shaking in frustration.
Unlike the familiar brain image of the typical toddler, the most recent scan of the injured boy — 7 months old when he was injured in September — showed a brain with large blank areas, especially on one half of his brain, areas that Assistant District Attorney Jessica Krejcarek said showed “catastrophic damage.”
Wright pleaded guilty to child abuse-recklessly causing great bodily harm.
Before his sentencing, Wright apologized for his actions.
“If I could take back or change that day, I certainly would, immediately,” he said. “Nothing I say can undo the damage I have done. ... I hope one day (he) can forgive me.”
Although Wright, 31, of Wheatland, has given different accounts of what happened when the baby was injured while he was babysitting his girlfriend’s children, Krejcarek said that the most accurate description is one that Wright gave a detective, saying he “lost it” and shook the baby back and forth 12 to 24 times.
According to Krejcarek, the now toddler has been left with disabilities, including atrophy to his right side. She said doctors are not sure how much he will recover.
“What Nathen did to my son is terrible. He took away my son’s — not his life, but pretty close to it,” said the baby’s father, Jacob Welker, at the sentencing. “I’ll never be able to play catch with him. I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to ride a bike.”
Welker asked that Wright be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The baby’s mother, Brittanie Pearse, has remained in a relationship with Wright.
“This is honestly, by far, the worst thing I ever experienced,” she told Judge Jason Rossell at the sentencing. “I definitely am not OK with what happened to my son, but I do forgive Nathen. I don’t want to see him incarcerated any longer.”
Rossell disagreed, sentencing Wright to nine years in prison followed by three years of extended supervision. During the supervision period, he will not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with children.
“You lost it. Let’s just be clear; you shook this child. The evidence is clear,” Rossell said.