State v. Bohannon, ___ N.C. App. ___, 786 S.E.2d 781 (2016)

Held: 
No Error
  • To prove felonious child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, the State must prove (1) the defendant is the child’s parent, (2) the child was younger than 16, and (3) the defendant intentionally and without justification or excuse inflicted serious bodily injury. In this case, the disputed issue was whether the Defendant inflicted serious bodily injury (as opposed to a lesser offense that involves serious physical injury) on his 3 month old child who suffered from subarachnoid hemorrhages.
  • Serious bodily injury is defined at G.S. 14-318.4(d)(1) as “[b]odily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement, coma, a permanent or protracted condition that causes extreme pain, or permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or that results in prolonged hospitalization.” In determining if there is a substantial risk of death, “the age and particular vulnerability of a minor victim must factor into this analysis.”
  • In viewing the evidence most favorable to the State, defendant’s motion to dismiss was not improperly denied as there was sufficient evidence to submit to the jury the question of whether the child suffered serious bodily injury. Three expert witnesses who treated the child testified about the impact of bleeding on an infant’s developing brain, and how it could be life-threatening and would require monitoring for dangerous side effects that could arise as the brain continues to develop.

 

 

 

 

 

Category:
Criminal Cases with Application to Child Welfare
Stage:
Felony Child Abuse
Topic:
Serious Bodily Injury
Tags:
Click on a term below for additional case summaries tagged with the same term.