Man gets 10 years in prison for fracturing baby’s skull | RecordCourier.com

Man gets 10 years in prison for fracturing baby’s skull

by Sheila Gardner
sgardner@recordcourier.com

A 28-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for fracturing a baby’s skull, described by the judge as “a crime of violence against the most vulnerable person that exists.”

District Judge Dave Gamble told Stephen Tribon he must serve a minimum of four years in Nevada State Prison before he is eligible for parole.

Gamble gave Tribon the maximum sentence despite the defendant’s request for parole.

Tribon pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse or neglect causing substantial bodily harm in the injury of his then 11-month-old stepdaughter.

He admitted grabbing the child around the waist, swinging her toward the crib, and slamming her head on top of the wooden frame, fracturing her skull early Feb. 1.

Tribon was married to the child’s mother.

Gamble told Tribon “there was no justification or excuse for what happened.”

“She (the victim) could just as easily be dead, as not. We could just as easily be here on murder charges,” Gamble said.

The baby is recovering from her injury.

“There has been a flavor in what Mr. Tribon has said both to (the psychologist) and me with the desired outcome to avoid taking responsibility. There has been substantial blame shifting going on in his own mind,” Gamble said.

Gamble said nobody needed a parenting class to know “you can’t take a 15-20-pound, 11-month-old baby and swing her into a crib.”

The baby’s father testified Tuesday that the incident “still makes me sick to my stomach.”

“For her to be in the hospital, displaced from the people who loved her, who had to leave her crying,” was heartbreaking for the baby and her family, he said.

“I have cared for her during her recovery and saw her bruises and the pain she was in every day. She would just grab her head in agony and cry until the pain stopped,” the young father said.

The baby’s grandfather testified the incident had traumatized his daughter, the baby’s mother.

“It ruined her life. Thank God, the baby is OK. She blames herself, I told her it’s not her fault,” he said.

The incident left “permanent scars” on the families of the victim and the defendant, the grandfather said.

“He (Tribon) promised me when he asked for my daughter’s hand in marriage that he wouldn’t hurt her. Well, he lied,” the man said.

Prosecutor Tom Gregory said he took issue with a psychologist’s recommendation that Tribon was at low risk to reoffend as long as he wasn’t around young children.

“That’s like saying a drug addict will stay clean as long as he’s in a locked room without drugs. We have no assurance at all he’ll never have contact with young children again,” Gregory said.

Gregory said Tribon was still “watering down what happened,” as evidenced by his initial lies to investigators about what happened.

Gregory said he understood that parenting is frustrating, but what Tribon did was a crime of violence.

“The degree of force he used to break this child’s skull had to be severe. This is a crime of violence on an 11-month-old,” Gregory said.

Tribon declined to make a statement. Attorney Kris Brown said her client was “too nervous to talk.”

At his arraignment in March, Tribon admitted causing the injury, but said it wasn’t intentional.

“He didn’t have mean intent. It was brought on by stress,” Brown said Tuesday. “He didn’t go into that room with the intent to hurt the victim.”

The child is now 14 months old.

Gamble ordered Tribon to stay away from the victim and her mother “for the rest of your life.”

“I simply cannot take any kind of chance this act could be repeated,” Gamble said. “Let this serve as a warning to other step-parents who abuse children.”

He gave Tribon credit for 99 days in custody and ordered him to pay $2,000 restitution to cover the little girl’s out-of-pocket medical expenses.