Alleged baby beater charged

A 22-year-old Port Orchard man who allegedly shook, hit and threw his 3-month-old daughter to get her to stop crying was charged with assault in Kitsap County Superior Court Thursday.

Before Judge Leila Mills, a tearful Jason M. Hanning pleaded not-guilty to first-degree child assault — a charge that holds a potential sentence of life in prison.

Hanning remains in Kitsap County Jail under $500,000 bail, pending his trial, now set for June 4.

Hanning was arrested shortly after midnight on Tuesday at his home in 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.

According to the probable-cause statement filed by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, the infant’s 18-year-old mother took her to the Harrison South Kitsap Urgent Care clinic for treatment around 10 p.m.

Due to the severity of her injuries, the baby was then transported to Mary Bridge Hospital in Tacoma by South Kitsap Fire and Rescue personnel.

On Tuesday afternoon, the child was listed in critical condition, but by Thursday spokesman Todd Kelley said her condition had improved to satisfactory.

Soon after the child was admitted to the hospital with what the probable-cause statement described as “multiple skull fractures, broken ribs, brain swelling and possible liver damage,” a hospital social worker contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

“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 he was lying on the couch earlier with the baby on his chest when she fell asleep and slipped off onto the floor. When one detective pointed out that the couch was only 15 inches high and the floor was covered in thick, shag carpeting, the defendant reportedly began to cry and said he would never intentionally hurt his daughter.

Hanning then reportedly 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 rib cage and squeezed her for several minutes.

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 bounced off of and fell on the floor, landing on her head.

He told detectives he checked to make sure the baby was still breathing, and 45 minutes later called the baby’s mother at work. She then came home and took the child to the clinic.

Hanning’s next court date is an omnibus hearing May 2.

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