A Nappanee man will spend three years on home detention after being convicted of beating a 4-year-old girl.
Jesse Walker, 26, was sentenced on a charge of battery, a level 5 felony, in Kosciusko County Superior I Thursday afternoon.
Fulton County Community Corrections will monitor the detention. After that, Walker will serve years of probation.
The charge resulted from an incident in February when Walker disciplined his live-in girlfriend’s daughter for not cleaning her room.
During the attempt to “discipline,” he picked the child up and threw her against a wall causing bruises, he also held her down during the spanking, causing bruises all over her body, according to court records.
“There is a right way to discipline a child and wrong way,” said Judge David Cates. “and this was the wrong way.”
Walker said that his anger issues stem from the way his dad treated him while growing up.
“I take full responsibility for what I did,” Walker said.
He also asked the judge to remove the no-contact order with the child.
The girl’s mother, who originally made the report spoke on Walker’s behalf, saying her daughter misses spending time with the only father she’s ever known.
“She constantly asks why can’t I see Daddy, and I don’t have a good answer for her,” she said.
Cates kept the protection order in place. “Let me make it simple for you: The reason he can’t see her is because he battered her,” he said. He added that if Walker obtains counseling and proves he reformed, he will reconsider it.
Walker’s attorney, John Barrett, argued the toddler only went to the hospital for observation and did not suffer any long-term damage.
Deputy Prosecutor Katy Hampton argued that Walker’s girlfriend was doing a disservice to her daughter by normalizing what happened to her.
“What happened to her is not right,” she said. “She needs to understand that she deserves to be loved and cherished, “
The paternal grandparents asked Cates to give Walker the maximum sentence available.
“She’s scared of being punished for minor things,” the grandmother said. She said there was an unreported incident where a spanking left bruises and Walker had agreed to no longer discipline the child. Hampton said this proved that an incident could happen again.
Barrett said Walker would take anger management classes and that sending him to prison would devastate his family who relies on him for support.
He said Walker wants to to back to college and become a chemical engineer.
Cates left Walker with a warning that “even a sniff” of evidence showing Walker has violated the no-contact order, would result in assuring his remaining sentence would be behind bars.