LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County jury has sentenced Andrew Lewis to 99 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison for abusing his 2-month-old baby girl Friday.
The abuse left the child with permanent brain damage, and she suffered numerous broken bones, according to court testimony.
The jurors sentenced Andrew Lewis to 99 years in prison for intentional injury to a child. He also received 20-year prison sentences for each of the reckless injury to a child charges. he will be serving the prison terms concurrently, or at the same time.
Earlier Friday, guilty of two lesser charges of reckless injury to a child and one intentional injury to a child charge. Amber Lewis Andrew's ex-wife, was found not guilty of reckless injury to a child, and Judge Bob Inselmann of the 217th Judicial District Court declared a mistrial regarding her second charge after the jury could not reach a verdict.
"I do feel for the baby that was involved in this," Defense attorney Ryan Deaton said. "I don't think there are any winners in a case like this."
The court recessed Thursday night after a full day of testimony and closing arguments by the state and defense attorneys.
According to the text of Andrew Lewis' indictment, which was filed on Oct. 2, the alleged abuse started on Jan. 26 and continued to March 25 of 2014. The text of Counts I to III of the indictment states that Lewis "knowingly or recklessly caused serious bodily injury to [the victim] by striking the child with an object unknown to the grand jury and/or applying pressure to the child's chest area and/or by dropping the child and/or jerking the child's leg."
Amber Lewis was charged in the case because she didn't seek timely medical attention for the baby girl, who suffered a seizure, according to court testimony.
"I really wanted to cry," Amber Lewis' father Craig Minkner said. "I had a couple of tears. It's painful but a lot of relief at this time. We just hope there is a lot learned here. There are no winners. it's been a painful process but a lot of growth but hopefully good comes from this."
After a recess, the jury was expected to move into setting the punishment for Andrew Lewis.
"It is very sad that parents could do this, but I think between the two of them, Andrew injured the child, and Amber did not protect this child," Clyde Herrington, the special prosecutor on the case said in court Thursday.
Deaton, Amber Lewis' defense attorney, then addressed the jury Thursday.
"These are two separate cases," Deaton said. "I feel like Amber is stuck in the middle of the State of Texas versus Andrew Lewis."
Deaton said what happened is horrible but he does not feel Amber Lewis is wrong. Deaton said this is a hindsight situation.
"The state is saying, after the fact, we can pick apart Amber Lewis and see what she did wrong," Deaton said. "I think this comes down to an opinion of you as a parent. The state wants to convict my client on your opinion of what a parent should do."
Deaton then claimed that if Andrew Lewis is guilty then the jury has to believe that he was not going to get the child to the doctor because he would be revealed.
"She is fighting things that she doesn't know about," Deaton said. "She said let's get him to the doctor, and he had to manipulate some way for the child not to go to the doctor. She didn't know what she was fighting against."
John Tunnel, Andrew Lewis' attorney, then talked to the jury and quoted from the constitution that citizens are to be presumed innocent until guilt is proven. Tunnel did not think his client is guilty.
"It makes it difficult for the state to obtain a conviction, and it should be difficult," Tunnel said.
Tunnel said it is better to let 10 guilty people go then let one innocent person be sent to prison.