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Father admits beating baby

A 22-year-old Port Orchard man charged with brutally beating his infant daughter pleaded guilty to first-degree child assault last week, according to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jason M. Hanning will be sentenced May 7 for shaking, hitting and throwing the three-month-old, leaving her with broken ribs, skull fractures and other injuries. Hanning was facing a maximum sentence of life in prison, but a spokesperson with the prosecutor’s office said it is recommending he serve nine years.

Hanning was arrested April 10 at his home on the 4000 block of Horstman Road after Kitsap County Sheriff’s detectives were notified that an infant was brought to a Port Orchard medical clinic with suspicious injuries, then quickly transported to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.

According to the probable cause statement filed by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, when the child was admitted to the hospital with “multiple skull fractures, broken ribs, brain swelling and possible liver damage,” a hospital social worker contacted police.

“The social worker determined that the injuries did not appear to be accidental, but were inflicted by violent means,” said spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson, explaining that detectives then contacted the father, Hanning, at his home.

The defendant first told the deputies that he was lying on the couch earlier with the baby on his chest when she fell asleep and slipped off onto the floor. After detectives pointed out that his story did not seem credible due to how low the couch was and how thick the floor carpeting was, the defendant reportedly began to cry and said he would never intentionally hurt his daughter.

Hanning then admitted to detectives that he had been home alone with the baby and new puppies while the baby’s mother was at work. He said he became frustrated because the puppies were whining and the baby was crying, and he first grabbed her around the ribcage and squeezed her.

When the baby began crying more, he said he shook her, then hit her in the head when she kept crying. Finally, he said, he threw her onto the bed, which she fell off of, hitting her head as she landed on the floor.

He told detectives that he used a stethoscope to make sure his daughter was still breathing, and 45 minutes later called the baby’s mother at work. He said she came home and took the child to the clinic.

According to hospital spokesman Todd Kelley, the infant was upgraded from critical to satisfactory within two days of being admitted, and has since been discharged from the facility.

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